Instagram apologises to revellers

By Kediesha Perry, Jamaica Observer

POPULAR social networking service, Instagram (IG) is apologising for blocking Caribbean carnival-related material from its platform.

According to Canadian news agency, Vice, several revellers were taken aback when they realised that Instagram issued a community guidelines regulation violation notice when they viewed hashtags like #fuzionmas, #stluciacarnival, #trinidadcarnival2020, #xuvocarnival, and #ehtshirtmas (representing carnival events in St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, and Antigua), after the St Lucian carnival ended on July 16.

“Recent posts from (hashtag) are currently hidden because the community has reported some content may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines,” read the photo-sharing platform’s message.

However, the operators of the nine-year-old app, owned by Facebook, have backtracked and are regretting the “mistake”.

“The hashtags #xuvocarnival and #trinidadcarnival2020, among others, were restricted in error and we are restoring them to full visibility. We apologise for the mistake. Over a billion people use Instagram every month, and operating at that size means mistakes are made—it is never our intention to silence members of our community,” said Alex Kucharski, an Instagram spokesperson, on Tuesday.

This did not stop some revellers from expressing their outrage at the occurrence.

“I find it very offensive that Instagram is deeming carnival culture inappropriate. Instagram has not indicated which community guideline(s) carnival posts are violating, as they’ve only linked us to their general policy,” said Cinelli Mangal.

Sarah Cassamajor, on the other hand, said maybe it’s time partygoers re-evaluate the behaviours portrayed during carnival season.

“I’m gonna give an unpopular opinion… though IG is lying, I do think maybe this is an opportunity to reflect on how we act during carnival…and maybe make some improvements on our end,” she said.

Carnival is celebrated throughout the Caribbean. However, while Trinidad’s party is the biggest and most famous, there are other great carnival celebrations including Vincy Mas in St Vincent and Crop Over in Barbados.

Carnival celebrations take place just before the beginning of Lent and the Easter season, but there are events happening nearly all year round.