Instagram’s “fact-checking” program is killing memes

Instagram’s top memes are now being blurred out and hidden behind a “False Information” notice.


Instagram was once one of the best places for sharing and enjoying memes. However, earlier this year, Instagram mass purged over 30 popular meme pages and reduced the circulation of memes on the platform.

Now with the recent mass rollout of its “fact-checking” program, Instagram has started to slowly kill off the remaining memes by hiding many of them behind a “False Information” notice.

As we reported previously, this notice was used to censor a meme of climate activist Greta Thunberg which shows her eating on a train while hungry African children look on from outside the train window.

This Greta Thunberg meme was labeled false by Instagram’s fact-checkers (Summit News)
This Greta Thunberg meme was labeled false by Instagram’s fact-checkers (Summit News)

However, this Thunberg meme is just one of many that has been fact-checked, blurred out, and hidden behind a notice on Instagram since the program was introduced on December 18.

When Instagram users land on meme pages, they’re now often presented with a grid that’s filled with blurred out memes. For example, when they go to the popular lushsux Instagram account, half of the memes are now hidden behind these fact-check notices.

Half of the most recent memes on the lushsux Instagram page are now hidden behind fact-check notices (Instagram - @lushsux)
Half of the most recent memes on the lushsux Instagram page are now hidden behind fact-check notices (Instagram – @lushsux)

Even when Instagram users tap to bring up a meme that’s been fact-checked, it’s still hidden behind a “False Information” notice and they have to tap the “See Post” link to reveal the meme.

Instagram memes are being blurred out and hidden behind “False Information” notices (Instagram - @lushsux)
Instagram memes are being blurred out and hidden behind “False Information” notices (Instagram – @lushsux)

Tapping “See Why” brings up a panel with information about the fact-checker and why the post was labeled “False.”

All Instagram memes that are labeled “False” now come with this information panel (Instagram - @lushsux)
All Instagram memes that are labeled “False” now come with this information panel (Instagram – @lushsux)

Some of the specific memes that have been fact-checked and hidden include a Jeffrey Epstein meme, a car tire meme, and a microwave tinfoil sphere meme.

A Jeffrey Epstein meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram - @lushsux)
A Jeffrey Epstein meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram – @lushsux)

A car tire meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram - <a href="https://www.instagram.com/memixes/">@memixes</a>)
A car tire meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram – @memixes)
A car tire meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram - <a href="https://www.instagram.com/memixes/">@memixes</a>)
A car tire meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram – @memixes)

A microwave tinfoil sphere meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram - <a href="https://www.instagram.com/tweetnstagram/">@tweetnstagram</a>)
A microwave tinfoil sphere meme that’s been fact-checked, labeled false, and hidden by Instagram (Instagram – @tweetnstagram)

Not only is this fact-checking program hiding memes for users who view meme posts or visit meme pages but it’s also preventing people from finding memes on Instagram organically by removing memes that are labeled false from the Explore tab and hashtag pages – two of the main areas people use to discover new content on the platform.


Tom Parker

Tom Parker is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net and provides news and analysis on how we can promote free speech, stop censorship, and protect our personal data online. [email protected]