Facebook posted an Instagram ad using a photo of a rape threat
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Facebook made another huge mistake after some of its algorithms went wrong. This time, the platform promoted Instagram through an offensive ad, which contained an image with a rape threat. As expected, the Facebook-owned company wasn’t happy about it, and felt the need to apologize for the incident.
Facebook selected an offensive Instagram post for an ad
A Guardian reporter, Olivia Solon, was the one who posted the picture with the rape threat on Instagram. This was a screenshot of a message she had received, and she wanted to make everybody aware of the hate and despise that she received in her job as a journalist. About a year later, she was surprised to find the picture again where she wouldn’t have expected it to be.
Facebook’s algorithms had taken Solon’s Instagram post, and used it to advertise the image-sharing app on the platform. When the image was initially posted on Instagram, it attracted a few comments and likes. However, the algorithms found this was enough to determine a post needed attention, and regarded it as worthy of including it in an ad.
Relying too much on algorithms can lead to huge mistakes
Instagram responded immediately to the situation, and apologized for the huge mistake. However, their response didn’t seem fitting of the situation. They said they didn’t wish any user to have such an experience, and then explained the ad was an attempt to get people more engaged with the image-sharing platform.
This was quite a serious mistake, and another evidence of the dangers of algorithms. Most of the time, they are incredibly useful and make things quicker, but relying on them too much can lead to such errors. If a human would have reviewed the images selected for ads before going public, the platform would have managed to avoid many unpleasant situations.
Image Source: Pexels