Instagram is making changes in its algorithm after receiving complaints and criticism about censoring Palestinian content

The Israel Palestine conflict has been going on for the longest time now, Recently Israeli forces started forcing people out of their homes in a Palestinian area called ‘Sheikh Jarrah’. Upon refusing to leave their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians were arrested and forcefully thrown out from their homes. Apart from that Israeli forces gathered around the Al Aqsa mosque and attacked it while the worshippers were still inside. This forceful settlement in Palestinian homes and the Al Aqsa attack caused a conflict between the Israeli forces and Palestinian military group called ‘HAMAS’. In the attacks both the forces launched rockets attack each other. The Palestinians were the ones most affected, 240 were killed while thousands got arrested and misplaced, while 12 Israelis were killed in the rockets attacks by HAMAS.

Between all this chaos people that supported the Palestinian site started protesting on many social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Many people that started re-sharing content in support of the Palestinians noticed that the content that they posted wasn’t getting much reach and Instagram’s algorithm decreased the reach of the posts and stories that supported Palestine. Apart from the deceased reach in May Instagram started deleting content and blocking accounts that posted content with the Al Aqsa mosque hashtag. This decreased reach and removal of content that supported Palestine enraged a lot of people and as a result people started a campaign to push down the ratings of the app on the iOS and Google app store. Instagram in May requested Apple to remove such ratings on their store, Apple refused the request.

Apart from the protest by users online Instagram’s employees also submitted a complaint to the company about the decreased reach. About 50 of the company’s employees reported this problem.

This internal and external protest did put Instagram under a lot of pressure. Instagram said that after users reported concerns about removal and reach of content that supported Palestine, they started making changes in their algorithm so the post and stories supporting Palestine would get reach just like normal content does on Instagram.

Previously Instagram gave much better reach to stories that had original content posted other than the stories that re-posted content, now the company will change this and stories with both original and re shared content would get the same reach.

A spokesperson from Instagram said that they know that their algorithm has caused certain users to believe that they are suppressing pro-Palestinian voices but that is not the case and they are working towards making it better.


Photo: Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

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