Research group YouGov is hosting a survey wherein a random assortment of Instagram users in the United States will get a pop-up in the app that leads to a survey asking for their race and ethnicity. Read on to know the reasons behind this survey, which aimed at making the app fair and more inclusive.

Why Is Instagram Asking For Race & Ethnicity?

With an aim to better understand how different groups experience Instagram, the Meta-owned photo-sharing platform, Instagram, is beginning to ask some users about their race and ethnicity.

The company released a statement mentioning that if they do not know people’s race or ethnicity, they will be limited in assessing how their products impact different communities. The statement reads as under:

“To better understand different experiences people may have on Instagram, we need to collect and measure demographic information, like race and ethnicity. We will ask a random assortment of people on Instagram in the US to participate in an optional survey where they can share this information.”

Answering Is Optional…

Per a survey hosted by the research group YouGov, a random assortment of IG users in the States will get a pop-up in the app for the purpose of a survey asking for their race and ethnicity. It is pertinent to note that answering these questions is optional, and Instagram says responded“will not limit the experiences that you have on Instagram, including impacting your reach or how people engage with your content in any way.”

For further clarity, Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted a video message wherein he said that collecting such data will help IG to look forward to ways to improve the platform for users. “If we’re going to make sure that Instagram is fair and equitable as an experience, we need to understand how it is working for different communities,” he mentioned.

How Does The Survey Work?

Once user responses are collected, the said data will be re-identified, split and then stored across some selected research institutions like Texas Southern University, Northeastern University, University of Central Floria and Oasis Labs. These responses will not be linked back to the user account and the company will only get aggregated data from partnering institutions.

The blog posted by the company adds, “This information will allow us to better understand the experiences different communities have on Instagram, how our technology may impact different groups, and if there are changes we can make to promote fairness.” 

If you don’t really, in 2020 Instagram made a similar effort by creating an equity team to study racial bias. Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook previously stated that it was working on a way to measure “how people from marginalized communities experience Meta technologies.”

Examining such aspects hasn’t come suddenly. Civil rights groups and other advocates have long called on social media platforms to examine how its system affects people of colour as several media reports have pointed out how these platforms allowed discrimination.

Therefore, the analytics conducted by IG with this information will help the company understand the experiences different communities may have when it comes to how the company ranks content. We aren’t sure about how much difference will this step bring, it will surely help reach some clarity on how to create a better user experience on the platform. What do you think about this step?

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