Instagram allegedly took over searches for popular hashtags related to the two presidential candidates desperately. Pointing Joe Biden search challenge toward often negative related hashtags. While making no such recommendation in similar searches concerning President Donald Trump.
Report from the Tech Transparency Projects to Instagram
The latest report by the Tech Transparency Project shows strange platform behavior. In the report, the tech watchdog balanced searches for 20 famous and well-known hashtags that are linked to the Trump and Biden campaigns. And noticed that the linked hashtag suggestions were closed for the Trump-related searches. #donaldtrump, #trump, #draintheswamp and #trump2020 were not left out.
For searches of similar Biden hashtags like #Biden, #biden2020, #joementum, as well as #teambiden. Instagram recommended a number of similar hashtags in a list that was clearly statistically generated.
Whereas, other similar suggestions were just a mixed bag. They included various hashtags critical of the campaign by Biden. Hashtags like #sleepyjoe, #neverbiden, as well as other adjacent cautious hashtags. Including #covid 19isahoax and also, #georgesorosisevil.
Alerted to the disagreement by BuzzFeed, that first disclosed the new Tech Transparency Project finding, Instagram called the problem a “bug”.
Instagram comms team comment.
The comms team of Instagram wrote in an aggressive reply to BuzzFeed’s Ryan Mac on Twitter. Instagram accused the reporter of cherry-picking examples to suit a “sensational narrative” also.
The team of Instagram also reduced the unequal handling of the searches of candidates. While arguing that the exact issue affected a lot of other less important hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram like #menshair and #gumdisease. Instagram has also banned the similar hashtag suggestions attribute over the board.
Trump’s Status as the Current President
The status of Donald Trump as the present president might start explaining the difference in treatment. However, similar hashtags were even put off for the slogan of Trump Campaign. Hashtags like #draintheswamp and #fucktrump. This feature was as well turned off for so many other political figure hashtags. Not excluding #obama, #tedcruz, as well as #jaredkushner.
While it is not obvious that inconsistency was intentional on behalf of Instagram. This specific Trump-friendly search notion kicks against the narrative that most of the social media sites are prejudiced against Republicans. Which is an unfounded refrain regularly undermined by the lopsided success of right-learning content on social platforms. And as we have noticed time and time again, the intention of a company has less to do with the unforeseen or unplanned effect of the analytical suggestions that make their products so sticky to start with.