Instagram says it erred in blocking Elaine Thompson-Herah's accountWednesday, August 04, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Instagram says it temporarily blocked Jamaican Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah's account because of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) copyright infringement.
Instagram's response came after the social media giant was criticised over its response to posts from Thompson-Herah.
The Jamaican sprinter said her Instagram account had been briefly blocked because she had shared video footage of her victories in the 100 and 200 metres at the Tokyo Olympics which she did not own the rights to.
Speaking with England's PA media, Instagram confirmed the block was the result of an IOC copyright infringement, but said it was a mistake to restrict the account and it had quickly been restored.
The incident sparked intense criticism over Instagram's quick reaction to apparent breaches of rules around copyright and intellectual property, in contrast to recent incidents of racist abuse, including that which was directed at several England footballers in the wake of their Euro 2020 final defeat.
But in response, Instagram on Wednesday told PA media that it was misleading to compare hate speech to intellectual property violations.
Instagram said it was a much more simple process to detect images or videos which violate intellectual property (IP) rules, saying it was easier to spot content that was using visuals or audio covered by IP rules because they often look or sound identical to the original.
But in contrast, it said hate speech often required context, citing examples where it might be initially unclear if certain words were being used as abuse or as reclaimed speech.
According to Instagram, it was hard to instantly detect and remove without risking overenforcement against people who were using the platform to campaign against hate.
The company added that it can sometimes take time to analyse hate speech content and acknowledged that it sometimes makes mistakes, but reiterated that it would remove any content found to be abusive.
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