Instagram admits tech misidentified racist comments

Instagram has owned up to a mistake in its technology that led to racist comments and emojis being left online after being identified as not obstructing its guidelines.

This comes after England football players faced a barrage of racist abuse across a number of social media platforms following the team’s Euro 2020 final defeat over the weekend.

In a Tweet, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri admitted that racist comments had been misidentified as not going against community guidelines, instead of being handed over to human moderators.

Cristina Criddle, technology reporter at the BBC, asked Instagram why a comment on England player Bukayo Saka’s page with orangutan emojis was found to “probably” not be violating guidelines.

“These emojis have been reported as an issue for a while – why has it not been programmed?” she tweeted.

Criddle said that after requesting a review she never heard back

“We have technology to try and prioritise reports, and we were mistakenly marking some of these as benign comments, which they are absolutely not,” wrote Mosseri in response. “The issue has since been addressed, and the publication has all of this context.”

Mosseri told the BBC that reports on these types of comments should now be reviewed properly.

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