In context: Instagram is making an effort to populate newsfeeds with an equitable mix of both stories from friends and re-shared posts conveying the latest from the Gaza Strip. After weeks of “accidentally” allowing posts with a Pro-Palestinian edge to fall by the wayside, however, both employees and users are beginning to grow suspicious.
After facing some criticism over what users perceived to be a muffling of new information from the Israeli-Palestinian border, Instagram has modified the algorithm curating newsfeeds to include more news content than before.
Concerned employees within the company noticed that some pro-Palestinian content being shared by users was not reaching its intended audience.
After appealing to their leadership, the employees brought to light the fact that much of what was in place on the platform was not built to scale, especially into politically turbulent times like ours. Posts from mosques and other respectable pro-Palestinian groups were also being lost in the shuffle.
Insider reps continue to defend the algorithm as it existed, insisting that nothing was being repressed. Rather, they claim that the phenomenon was a result of the platform favoring that previously mentioned local content. They pledge to amend the issue gradually over time, so as not to disrupt the user experience.
This is not the first time that Instagram has been accused of playing in favor of one side or the other, and Twitter in recent weeks has fallen under similar fire. Those on the front lines are reaching out desperately through all channels in an effort to be heard beyond the digital wall. “Arbiters of truth” or not, online platforms are powerful tools of unity for both sides of the matter, and they ultimately owe an obligation to the society they have so much influence over.