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How Instagram Uses AI and Big Data Technology?

By Anonymous User posted Tue October 27, 2020 04:25 PM


Joining a billion monthly active users freshly, the photo and video posting social network platform, Instagram has built its way towards growing one of the most acclaimed and popular apps on a global system. Begun in 2010, the app has grown swiftly, swamping its opponents, by consistently updating its features and engaging itself in continuous evolution and has covered its way towards enhancing the 5th most downloaded app as of the end of 2019. 


Shortly, the app has built a high degree of frenzy among the day's youth, especially the escalating section of people who favor sending their thoughts through images. With millions of posts being posted on the platform every day and users joining with these posts always by liking, commenting, and using hashtags, this is where big data opens the picture. 

A huge amount of data is being created through the continuous unfolding action and Instagram’s been making good use of it, both in achieving this data and leveraging it with Artificial Intelligence algorithms to gain penetrations. 


How Instagram Practices AI and Big Data


Explore Page and Search Function

The users can find photos and posts on special topics or activities, events, and exploring occurrences, trending restaurants, and places global within the support of tags and trending data. 


Now how does this role work? 


Instagram identifies accounts that are more or less related to one another by using a machine learning method termed as “word embedding”. This technique shows the order in which words look in the text to measure how relevant they are. Instagram practices the same approach to decipher and understand how connected any two accounts are to each other. 

So to make its references, the Explore system begins by observing the “seed accounts” which are the accounts the users have associated with in the past by liking or saving their content. It then identifies the accounts that are related to these and selects 500 items of content from them. 


These content items are then cleaned to exclude all spam, misleading and policy-violating content from them. The left posts are ranked based on how likely a user is to communicate with each one. Finally, the top 25 posts are then transferred to the first page of the user’s Explore tab. 



Instagram bots 

These bots are created to automate the user’s account communications. These do everything from liking comments that clients leave on posts to posting comments on another person’s content. This is seen as an exceptional way of boosting engagement. An instance of an Instagram bot would be Kenji.AI. 


This is a unique Instagram bot that automates the user’s activities efficiently. It does use of machine learning algorithms to understand who would be most likely to interlock with your account.


Target Advertising


Instagram guarantees it uses the big data it produces fully to its advantage by obtaining and analyzing the client insights it gains from it. Instagram sells advertising space to businesses that happen to be involved in reaching a particular target public and in sending out a specific marketing message by knowing and following the search preferences and commitment insights of its users. 


Being held by a dominant tech giant like Facebook allows Instagram to have a large network of insights and data for helping target advertisement based on the audience’s likes, who they support, and contract with and the posts they save. 



Designing Personalised Feeds


With the level of content distributed on the app rapidly increasing, it becomes predominant for the platform to deliver content related to its users. Therefore in 2016, Instagram changed its feed to perform first, the posts it thinks its users would favor and share rather than in reverse- chronological order.


To do this machine learning algorithm was put to practice to go through all the content and fully comprehend which of the content would be more important for its users, to design a personalized feed for each of them. 

Dealing With Spam


With an excess of content being distributed every day across the app, some of it is bound to be spam.


Presently how are these spam messages caught? 


Instagram does use of Artificial Intelligence’s text analytics algorithm, “DeepText” for trading with spam messages. Its spam filter can identify spam messages in over 9 languages, including English, Arabic, and Chinese. Once identified, these messages are automatically withdrawn. The algorithm is able to contain a message’s context almost as well as people. 



Dealing with cyberbullying and distasteful commentaries

Social Media has long been an effective platform for people, especially teenagers, to consider cyberbullying and Instagram is no exception. 


The platform has promised to fight online bullying by leveraging artificial intelligence methods that will foresee and identify any kind of bullying or bad text on the platform. For the same, the platform has newly launched a new AI feature that goes by keeping track of a list of words and phrases which have been informed offensive in the past and then warning it’s users whenever their captions for a certain photo or video could be regarded offensive to give them a chance to halt and re-assess their words ere posting them. Besides, Instagram has promised to fight when someone wants to buy Instagram likes with the help of artificial intelligence methods.


Around October 2019, Instagram started a feature termed as “Restrict” that allows the platform’s users to shadow users posting offensive or bullying comments easily. This indicates that the comments on the posts of a character who has been shadowbanned by the user will only be detectable to that personage.



Gather insights to learn and improve 

Instagram with its millions of regular shared posts has the potential of growing a beneficial social analysis tool. 


For example, As per a study started by Cornell University in 2016, a group of researchers revealed how cultural clothing trends vary worldwide, especially, looking at fashion aims, based on their time and place, between 2013-2016.


Using methods like face identification to eliminate irrelevant photos, the researchers created an object identification program that could distinguish and identify clothing items, for instance, a shirt from a t-shirt or a jacket from a sweater. The program examined and determined what trends were successful in what areas, what clothes were being paired with what, and how the aims had varied within the analysis time period. 


Crisis Communication 

Instagram has been making apparent use of its Big Data for crisis communication. For instance, during the 2012 Hurricane Sandy, social media, Instagram, in particular, was instrumental in connecting the victims of Sandy. 


Thousands of images were embedded into tweets in the two week time periods. This helped perceive the change in affairs surrounding disasters while also helping the victims get through to their families as the people active on social media were able to see that their loved ones were safe, while also getting a good look inside the storm.


Yet another instance where Instagram played a crucial role was during the Ebola crisis. Various Instagram users, ranging from photojournalists to humanitarian organizations were able to show a unique side of the Ebola story. Amidst the tumult faced with the quarantine, the death of loved ones, and the uncertainty of the future the images uncovered an array of sentiments from fear and frustration to beauty and hope. 



With Instagram’s increasing popularity and recognition, pops the question, what is causing this app so popular? A lot of its growth and public acceptance has to do with its essential use of data. Yes, Instagram is certainly one of the famous companies that put AI and Big Data to fair use and its result speaks for the energy these new-age technologies propagate.