Facebook causes opposing research on Instagram algorithms to shut down

Victims have had too much and it is finally time to bring Facebook's misdemeanors to light.

Facebook has quite a reputation for being the social media 'bully' as not one day passes without a piece of news regarding the platform's activities with none of them being quite positive. This time around, Facebook played a huge role in shutting down the research of a German company named AlgorithmWatch. The researchers claim abandoning their project was a result of legal threats by the tech giant.

It's been over a year since their launch and AlgorithmWatch has been keeping users posted about how Instagram algorithms work and which posts are subjected to a higher reach. Since the results aren't Facebook-friendly, it is possible that Facebook indeed indulges in some bullying to get projects to close down. It concluded that Instagram gives more exposure to pictures with more bare skin visible while pictures showcasing faces are given priority over others. At first, Facebook only objected to the claims however did not take any action. However, earlier this year Facebook executives met up with the company's leaders and accused them of various illicit activities.

For starters, Facebook claimed its policies were being violated which we believe does not hold much legal hold or pressure. Next, Facebook objected to the violation of GDPR. It said AlgorithmWatch collected data without users' consent which might be a plausible argument. Since researches are never based on a single subject, considering the feed is full of posts from various users, it is true that information might be collected without consent. Facebook does offer up information from its own stores but the opposing company claimed since their research wasn't exactly in the company's favor, the data provided by Facebook will not be true or unbiased.

AlgorithmWatch researchers, in their argument, stated that the data being used was collected from volunteers. They also informed that they did indeed abandon their project however it was only for the fear of legal action. Against Facebook, we're not sure if such a young company stands any chance.

Facebook also decided to make a comment on the matter, stating that the meeting was true however the threatening accusations are nothing but a facade. It also stated that researches were always supported but never at the risk of their user's privacy or security.

Since Instagram's algorithms are subjected to constant change, one cannot understand them completely. When researchers like these try, Facebook's policies suddenly are brought into question and all research comes to a halt.

We expect Facebook to be less of a bully here, although with it's opposing argument, we cannot be too sure of the company's true incentive.

Read next: Besides just WhatsApp, Facebook is also extending its encryption process to video and audio calls of Messenger and Direct Messages of Instagram to maintain the privacy of users
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