Issue 23: Can Censorship Save Instagram?
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Issue 23: Can Censorship Save Instagram?

Fake news is all around us. In this issue of The Slow Scroll, we explore the problematics of censorship on Instagram, fake news surrounding the Wuhan virus, and watch a creepy Superbowl ad from Google. Here we go...

Instagram Begins to Censor Photoshop 

One blogger shows the differences between unrealistic Instagram photos and real life.

Instagram's fact checkers have recently begun flagging any photoshopped images as potential 'false information,' which goes in line with its parent company Facebook's attempts to curb the spreading of fake news.

While what is considered as 'false information' is not so clearly defined, some argue that this censorship could help save Instagram from being such a damaging social media platform, by curbing the amount of photos that contribute to unrealistic beauty standards. A scientific study in 2016 showed that scrolling through the popular app leads to negative body image and perception of self—and the plastic surgery industry in the US has never been raking in more paper.

But some argue that this type of censorship also limits artistic creativity and freedom of expression. Others also argue that Instagram censorship seeks to police female bodies, and even limit the expression of marginalized bodies (or even Donald Trump Jr.).

Fake News Spreads Faster Than The Wuhan Virus

The infamous Wuhan virus has spread to over 24 countries and has a death toll rising to 500—but while the outbreak has traveled far and wide, fake news about the virus has spread even faster.

False health claims like 'avoid spicy foods' and 'keep your throat moist' has been shared more than 16,000 times on Facebook, as well as a video that purports to show the start of the virus, of a Chinese woman eating a bat. The video in question turned out to be the work of a travel blogger (who later apologized) and wasn't even filmed in China. Conspiracy theories that the virus originated from a covert biological weapons program have spread, too.

It can be frightening to not know what is true and isn't, but social media companies are combating the spread of fake news—here's a list of what platforms are doing to tackle the fake claims. 

WATCH: Google's Superbowl Ad

"Google’s tearjerker Super Bowl ad is sad and creepy"
In the future, as tech giants would have it, all of our memories will be stored in the cloud and retrieved by virtual assistants.

Google's tearjerker ad is sad and creepy, which premiered during the recent Superbowl is "just more of the creepy normalizing of internet surveillance that we’ll probably keep seeing from big internet companies as they insinuate themselves deeper and deeper into our daily lives."

That is all for this week—thank you for your attention, as ever! What are your thoughts on privacy and censorship? As always please e-mail us here with any feedback, thoughts, or tips for The Slow Scroll.
Send this to a friend who needs to stop scrolling on Instagram. Then hang out with them in IRL.

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?

Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
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