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Hoax Alert

Fact Check: Instagram Will Indeed Begin To Label Some Photoshopped Images With A "False Information" Warning If Rated False

  • by: Ryan Cooper
  • (Wed, 22 Jan 2020 02:55:00 Z)

Did Instagram announce it will begin to label Photoshopped images with a "false information" warning? Yes, that's partially true, but the headline is misleading. Here is some context: Only images rated "false or partly false" by independent fact-checkers will be flagged. There will not be labels on all content that has been altered using desktop photo-editing tools.

The claim originated from a meme (archived here) published by The Shade Room on January 18, 2020, under the title "Instagram Will Begin To Label Photoshopped Images With a 'False Information' Warning." It opened:

#Roommates, it looks like Instagram is implementing a new feature that will use a "combination of feedback from our community and technology" to determine if images have been photoshopped. After that, the image will go to a "fact-checker" and they'll make the final decision. 👀👀 Instagram won't actually hide a photo that has been photoshopped. However, they will apply a "False Information" label when a fact-checker has rated it. If the fact-checkers and the content owners determine it's not photoshopped then no label will be added.

Screenshot of https://www.instagram.com/p/B7e7qd7hfFn/?utm_source=ig_embed

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

While the headline is partially true, it would have been more accurate to say, "Instagram Will Begin To Label Some Edited Images With A 'False Information' Warning."

Photoshop is a registered trademark of Adobe and is not the only desktop photo editor that can alter, enhance, or edit photos. Adobe frowns upon the use of the term as a verb to describe all photo editing.

As the Instagram press release noted, only false or partially false content will be flagged on the site. Specifically:

When content has been rated as false or partly false by a third-party fact-checker, we reduce its distribution by removing it from Explore and hashtag pages. In addition, it will be labeled so people can better decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. When these labels are applied, they will appear to everyone around the world viewing that content - in feed, profile, stories, and direct messages.

Instagram is trying to combat misinformation, not flag content that has been artistically or stylistically created on Photoshop and other photo-editing software.

The Instagram press release concluded:

To determine which content should be sent to fact-checkers for review, we use a combination of feedback from our community and technology. Earlier this year, we added a "False Information" feedback option, and these reports, along with other signals, help us to better identify and take action on potentially false information.

We wrote about disinformation on Instagram before. Here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Ryan Cooper.jpeg

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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