Instagram and AI

Why Artists Are Turning on Instagram Over Its New AI Policy

Artists are increasingly vocal about their discontent with Instagram, driven by a new AI policy implemented by Meta (formerly Facebook), Instagram’s parent company. This policy, which uses user-generated content to train AI models, has raised significant concerns within the artistic community, leading many to abandon the platform.

Exploitation of Creative Works

One of the most contentious aspects of the new AI policy is Meta’s use of public photos, posts, and captions from Instagram and Facebook to train its AI models. These models, including Emu, the text-to-image generator, rely heavily on the vast repository of user-shared content​​. For artists, this feels like a blatant exploitation of their creative works without proper consent or compensation. Isabelle Doran of The Association of Photographers highlighted this frustration, noting that Meta’s actions seem driven by corporate greed, disregarding the impact on the community that helped build Instagram’s success​.

Lack of Consent and Transparency

A noteworthy issue with Meta’s policy is users’ demand for explicit, informed consent. The company’s approach automatically includes all public content in its AI training datasets unless users take proactive steps to opt-out. However, opting out only applies to data gathered from third-party services, not content directly shared on Instagram or Facebook​​. This practice of intentionally cumbersome opt-out procedures has led to widespread dissatisfaction and betrayal among content creators.

Economic and Ethical Concerns

Artists are rightfully worried about the economic implications of this policy. The potential for AI-generated art, which might be based on their own styles and works, to flood the market could significantly devalue original creations. This competitive threat undermines years of skill development and creative investment​. The ethical concerns are profound. Many argue that using user-generated content without explicit consent for commercial purposes is inherently unethical, raising critical questions about data privacy and intellectual property rights.

Migration to Alternative Platforms

In response to Instagram’s AI policies, artists seek refuge on alternative platforms, prioritizing user rights and ethical practices. Cara, a new social networking app designed for creators, has seen a surge in popularity. Cara explicitly prohibits the use of user-generated content for AI training. The company employs tools to protect artistic originality, such as Cara Glaze and Nightshade, which make it difficult for AI models to replicate uploaded artworks​​. This migration underscores the growing discontent with Instagram’s policies and the desire for platforms that respect and protect artistic contributions.

And Finally…

Instagram’s new AI policy has sparked significant backlash from the artistic community, leading to a mass exodus of artists seeking platforms that offer better protection and respect for their work. Concerns about exploitation, lack of consent, economic impact, and ethical practices highlight the urgent need for more transparent and fair data usage policies. As artists continue to turn away from Instagram, we hope it becomes clear that platforms should prioritize the rights and voices of their creative users to maintain their trust and participation.