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Instagram Says Ranking Change Will Favor Original Content

But implementing the change could be tricky in some instances.

Instagram
Facebook parent company Meta owns Instagram.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Instagram says it wants to make sure creators are getting credit for the original photos and videos they share on the platform. 

Currently, Instagram ranks content it thinks you're more likely to interact with, based on a variety of factors such as content you've liked in the past, how popular a post is and whether you've previously engaged with a particular user. On Wednesday, Instagram, owned by Facebook parent company Meta, said it plans to elevate original posts by making changes to how it ranks content.

"If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you are resharing something you found from someone else," Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said in a video. "We're going to try to value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content."

Mosseri also outlined other changes Instagram has been making. It's expanding to everyone in the US the ability to "tag" products, and it's released "enhanced tags" so other users can see specific contributions to a photo or video. For instance, enhanced tags can identify the photographer or fashion stylist who worked on the creation of an image.

The changes are another example of how social networks are trying to appease creators so they don't migrate to competing platforms. Creators on various social media platforms, including creators who are Black or underrepresented, have voiced concerns that they're not getting credit for their work. Last year, Black creators boycotted creating new dances for short-form video app TikTok because they felt they weren't getting credit for choreography performed by popular white creators. 

The use of other people's content has also been an issue with the spread of misinformation. When Russia invaded Ukraine, some people were posting old photos and videos that misled others who thought the content was new.

With social media users posting content from other platforms, trying to identify the creator of a photo or video could be challenging. TikTok videos are often reshared on Instagram as well.

In a tweet, Mosseri said Instagram can't know for sure who the original creator was, especially if users falsely claim they created a piece of work. The company, he said, builds classifiers to predict how likely it is that a piece of content is original and looks at factors such as who's in a video and whether it's been posted on the service before.

"It would be hard," he tweeted. "If the account is an aggregator, we'll more likely be able to detect that it's not original. If it's someone pretending to be that original creator, which is less likely but could happen, it'll be hard for us to know."