Instagram’s “Made with AI” Label Raises Concerns Over Accuracy and Nuance

Instagram’s recent implementation of the “Made with AI” label on photos edited using artificial intelligence tools has sparked a debate among photographers and creatives. While the intention behind the label is to address concerns of intellectual property theft, its application has raised questions about accuracy and nuance.

Photographer Louis Mendes recently experienced the impact of this labeling system firsthand. After making ordinary Photoshop edits to a photo and using generative AI to remove a highlight, Mendes uploaded the image to Instagram, only to find it labeled as “Made with AI.” However, Mendes argues that the AI tool was used as a retouching tool, similar to other traditional editing techniques such as the clone tool or healing brush. The label’s broad application fails to acknowledge the distinction between images created entirely by AI and those where AI was used as a tool in the editing process.

This labeling approach could potentially have a chilling effect on retouching practices in general. For instance, event photographers who rely on AI denoise functions in Photoshop may face concerns from clients if their work is labeled as “Made with AI.” The inconsistency in Instagram’s application of the label, such as its absence when uploading images from a desktop web browser, further adds to the confusion and unevenness of the policy.

The “Made with AI” label also raises questions about the responsibility of companies like Meta, which owns Instagram, in determining how the label is applied. While it is crucial for journalists and truth-seekers to refrain from using AI tools to edit their work, the implications for other creative professionals, such as wedding photographers or companies managing social media content, need to be carefully considered.

The article highlights the need for a more nuanced approach to the “Made with AI” label, as it risks stigmatizing individuals who responsibly use AI as a creative tool. Meta’s current policy fails to address these concerns adequately, leaving photographers and creatives to grapple with the potential consequences of the label’s application.

As the debate continues, photographers and professionals in the creative industry will undoubtedly contemplate the implications of Instagram’s “Made with AI” label. The need for a balanced approach that considers the diverse applications of AI in creative work remains a pressing issue.