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Instagram is starting to hide Photoshopped images from its users

The move is meant to stem the tide of misinformation, but could it result in more censorship?

Instagram already has a “sensitive content filter”, which blurs out images that may be offensive, giving you the option on whether you want to see them. The same goes for messages that may contain something sensitive, from someone you don’t know. 

Now, Instagram is reportedly introducing a new function, to hide images that may be Photoshopped or doctored. According to TechRadar, fact-checkers on the platform are scouring for images that might be digitally altered and flagging them as "false information". 

This is, at least, what happened to the photographer, Toby Harriman, from San Francisco, who recently discovered an image of a man standing on rainbow-coloured mountains, posted by MIX Society, to be censored. In a Facebook post, he wrote: “I have a huge respect for digital art and don’t want to have to click through barriers to see it.”

Harriman’s post raises a potential issue with the new move: it could result in more censorship from Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, which has already been met with accusations of wrongly censoring naked bodies, even as depicted in art, as well as sexy emojis. A woman recently erected a giant inflatable boob outside the Facebook London office in protest of the nipple censorship policy. 

Facebook includes the new function as part of an attempt to stem the tide of misinformation on social media, but whether it affects the posting of digitally altered art, enhanced images, and even memes, remains to be seen.