Meta Goes After Social Rip-Off Artists

Instagram’s updated algorithm prioritizes original content instead of rip-offs
Aggregator accounts are up against the algorithm.

At first I brushed aside this news as just another Facebook/Meta algorithm change – the 700th so so over the past two decades. But actually, this might be more interesting than your average Facebook-says-jump-you-say-how-high change. Mia Sato:

The biggest change deals with aggregators — accounts that download or screenshot other users’ videos and photos and repost them. Sometimes aggregators will credit the original poster by tagging them in the post or caption, but often, content is wholesale ripped off with no acknowledgment, and engagement is siphoned off from the person who created the content in the first place.

Instagram clearly has a problem with this and will begin removing reposted content from recommendations across the platform. The update targets serial reposters — accounts that share content that they didn’t “create or enhance in a material way” more than 10 times in 30 days. This means that, in theory, your Instagram Explore page or main feed recommendations won’t include content from aggregation accounts. Affected accounts can become eligible again for recommendations 30 days after the last time they reposted “unoriginal” content. This won’t affect “a set of publishers” identified by Instagram with licensing agreements or resharing permissions from content creators, according to the blog post.

This behavior has always been an issue on Twitter, but with the ownership change and the move to Xitter, it seemed to take off even further, at least in my feed. Part of it was undoubtedly because the spam team was decimated (under the guise that the company was now focusing more on spam, of course). But more so, the Xitter-in-Chief himself was now also the chief meme rip-off artist. It annoyed me because I saw it trickle down to individuals – people I know – engaging in such behavior. Just blatantly stealing others' viral content in an attempt to go viral. It was all very Gotham-in-chaos. A total shitshow. Sorry, Xhitshow.

And Instagram aside (where I'm sure the ripping off of TikTok videos is one of the real culprits here), I don't think it's a coincidence that the behavior started to bleed over into Threads. Many people were leaving Xitter and signing up for Threads, but took such behavior with them. Worse, there was undoubtedly the knowledge that they could steal memes from Xitter and post them anew on Threads without most being aware. Just shitty behavior. Xhitty behavior, really. So I'm glad Meta is making a move here.

And they're actually going above and beyond:

Instagram is going a step further than just cutting off repost accounts: the platform will replace the reposted content with the original creator’s post in recommendations. The company says it will only replace reposts when the original is “relatively new” and when the system is confident that the posts are identical “based on audio and visual signals.” Creators will get a notification when their original content takes the place of reposts and is recommended on the platform. These changes only apply to recommendations — if you follow an aggregation account, you’ll still see their reposted content on their profile or in feeds.

Xitter undoubtedly couldn't even do this if they wanted to (and they clearly don't want to). This is a uniquely Meta technical capability.