Searches for the word “dog” on Instagram’s Stories feature show a takeaway box emoji associated with American Chinese food, angering people who are concerned that the app reinforces racial stereotypes.
An Instagram employee noticed the problem over the weekend, according to a post on an internal Facebook message board, while users of the popular photo-sharing app have complained about the problem since 2019. Instagram is owned and operated by Facebook.
“How are emojis recommended in this and can we remove this so that it does not perpetuate Asian ethnic stereotypes?” The employee who acts as the Instagram product integration program manager wrote. “I tested this with 3 members of my family and it will show them.”
In tests conducted on Apple devices, BuzzFeed News was shown to the US-Chinese food container in searches for “dog” while trying to place an emoji or GIF on top of a story, an ephemeral image or video clip linked to a profile for a 24-hour period. The takeout box was one of seven potential search results for word emojis, along with actual dog emojis, footprints and hot dogs.
Results cannot be duplicated on Android devices with Instagram. Story features on Twitter, Snapchat, and the Facebook app did not contain searchable emojis or show no racial results.
A Facebook representative told BuzzFeed News that the company is investigating the issue.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We have removed emojis from appearing in this research and are investigating why this is so we can take steps to prevent it from happening again.”
After publishing the story, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said He said on Twitter That Takeout Box emoji was associated with the term “doggy bag”, which made it appear when searching for “dog”.
He said, “Since then we have removed this search term and apologize for its misinterpretation and for anyone who offended us.”
The problem has been around since at least 2019. In October of that year, One person tweeted They were looking for “gifs of cute little dogs on Instagram” but they found the takeout box.
“Why did I search for a dog on Instagram and Chinese food appeared ???” Another woman tweeted In early 2020.
The bug was Instagram’s mistake, said Jennifer 8 Lee, vice chair of the Unicode Emoji subcommittee, which helps the new emojis get approval. While emojis are associated with specific keywords, there is no basis in Unicode, which is the standard for the consistent handling of text across devices, for associating a “dog” with emojis that people worry about.
Lee, who also wrote, said, “The word ‘Dog’ is not a keyword for ‘Takeout Box’ in Unicode Fortune Cookie RecordsA book on Chinese American food. “This has to happen on the platform level and someone has had sex.”
He told me the relationship between the dog and the emoji of the food container – in fact it is American invention Echoes of the racist cartoons that prevailed when Chinese workers came to the United States in the nineteenth century. When immigrants came to build US railroads, food became a defining factor in the “us versus them” novels, in which Chinese workers are portrayed as “strangers on our shores eating dogs, cats and rats.”
Lee added that while some Asian countries have places that serve dog meat, she noted that white Americans sometimes eat atypical animals like alligators. “I would like to say that the average Chinese person never eats dogs throughout his life, in the same way that the average American does not eat a crocodile in his life,” she said.
This isn’t the first time a Facebook product has been subjected to claims of cultural insensitivity. In 2018, after a deadly earthquake in Indonesia, people in the country who tried to alert friends and family that they were safe or to offer condolences were on the stage. Holiday balloons appear After the platform failed to understand that the Indonesian word for “survival” also means “celebration.”
This year on Martin Luther King Jr’s Day, Instagram has mistakenly placed a misleading information poster about the Coronavirus On the stories that showed a screenshot of a memorial tweet from King Bernice King’s daughter, unrelated to the epidemic.
“Our systems mistakenly described the screenshots of this tweet as disinformation about the vaccine,” an Instagram spokesperson said He said at the time. “We have now removed the incorrect classification from these posts.”
Feb 08, 2021, at 21:49 pm
This story has been updated with a comment from Adam Mosseri, Instagram chief.