Instagram recently rolled out a new Fact Check feature, only to end up being the butt of the joke.
The fact check takes the help of independent and third-party organizations to proof claims made in posts shared on Instagram. However, this system shall not monitor political accounts. This ended up badly for Instagram, as the majority of photos actually "fact-checked" are memes and satire.
Meme accounts, however, have had a field day making fun of the new feature, with jokes ranging from deliberately inviting a fact check to creating imitations of the format. You know, peak comedy.
Deliberately Failing Fact Checks/Satire
This was how most people found out about the fact-check feature in the first place. A lot of memes derive humor by stating obviously incorrect things, often in the form of satire.
One of the first images to widely circulate was one that claimed that cutting a tire's valve removes the RFID chip to "Stop the government from tracking your car." Africa Check, an independent fact-checking organization, declares the obviously ironic text post "False: ID chips not in tire's valve stem, so don't snip!"
The technology's failure to recognize sarcasm and humor have since been used for a wide range of memes, from "Epstein didn't kill himself" jokes to a clearly doctored image of Greta Thunberg ignoring starving minors while having quite a feast to herself.
You Have Failed The Fact Check
Drawing on the popular Vibe Check meme format that had been making rounds for quite a while, text posts about failing the fact check are one of the common renditions of fact-check humor. A weird/unsettling face, a hand extended towards the user, declaring a failed fact-check; you know the drill.
Fake Fact Checks
By using the blurred format and the red text at the bottom, it didn't take long for people to begin replicating the fact check format. These jokes rely on "fact-checking" information which is otherwise true or controversial to be declared false. A few pictures used for such memes were those that declared "Black Lives Matter" or "Women can be funny" (the kind I shall not link for obvious reasons.)
It would be beneficial if Instagram embraced this. They could use a light-hearted approach to the entire ordeal and fact-checking procedure, recognizing the system's shortcomings. This could help their relatability as a brand and show people that they keep track of what's up. Otherwise, this is just a PR embarrassment worth a few more days of memes before the formats get old.
Pic credit: Peta Pixel