It’s hard to develop a bug-free app. The companies behind the smoothest apps you’ve ever used likely have entire teams of people dedicated to usability testing.
That probably includes Instagram, the world’s most popular photo-sharing app. It can’t be as successful as it is and not function well. That said, it appears one bug has unfortunately slipped through the cracks… and it couldn’t have done so at a worse time.
Head of Instagram Apologizes for Ill-Timed Bug
Instagram Head Adam Mosseri has apologized on Twitter for a bug that deleted content from some users’ stories, archives, and highlights.
While there isn’t ever a good time for bugs, timing was especially bad this time around. Activists on Instagram were trying to raise awareness for National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (abbreviated as MMIWG, and takes place on May 5).
Many people thought we were removing their content because of what they posted or what hashtag they used, but this bug wasn’t related to the content itself, but rather a widespread issue that has now been fixed.
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) May 7, 2021
Of course, the erasure prompted organizations like Rising Hearts and IllumiNative to question whether their content was unfairly removed on purpose, or if it was accidental. Instagram assured that the deletions had nothing to do with a specific topic, but instead were due to an issue that affected users all around the globe.
Mosseri ended his Twitter thread with the following statement:
We apologize to all those who felt like they could not bring attention to these incredibly important causes, and many others around the world. Helping people express themselves and raise awareness on the conversations they care about is at the heart of Instagram.
Initially, some netizens thought that the bug had something to do with the new features that Instagram has introduced over the past couple days. For instance, Instagram DMs now have read receipts, and you can now add auto-captioning stickers to stories.
But Instagram eventually tweeted a more in-depth explanation of events, saying that an automated update meant to check for deleted content somehow treated all re-shared media posted before midnight on May 6 as “missing.”
If you want to learn more about the MMIWG movement, we encourage you to read about it on Indian Country Today.
Social Media Brings Attention to Important Causes
Social media can play a really important role in activism, especially during these times. Online platforms can easily bring people together, and shine a spotlight on topics that mainstream media doesn’t always discuss.
In a statement given to CBC News, community organizer Kakeka Thundersky said, “Everyone’s just stuck at home on their phone, unable to gather and able to go to the rallies, unable to talk to face to face with people.”