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Instagram adds credits to ensure more Black creators are cited for their work

“We want to ensure that as Black creators’ content is being distributed as it already is, they are getting the proper attribution," said Instagram engineer Cameryn Boyd.
Image: Cameryn Boyd and Alexis Michelle Adjei.
Cameryn Boyd and Alexis Michelle Adjei came up with a way for Instagram to address "inequity in the creator ecosystem."Noemie Tshinanga

Instagram announced Monday that it will introduce a special tag for professional accounts and influencers that ensures they receive credit for their content, an attempt to address complaints that Black users are not credited for starting trends or are shut out from profiting from them.

The tag is available to business and creator accounts, and comes on the heels of nationwide discussions and content strikes by Black content creators who pushed out viral posts saying they do not receive credit for their work.

Alexis Michelle Adjei, a data analyst, and Cameryn Boyd, an engineer, envisioned and created the label with these disparities and Black creators in mind, particularly that creators make a living off producing social media content and that Black creators should share equally in that, too, they said. 

Adjei said, "Black creators and addressing that inequity in the creator ecosystem" was top-of-mind when developing the new feature.

Cameryn Boyd is an engineer at Instagram.
Cameryn Boyd is an engineer at Instagram.Noemie Tshinanga

Twice as many white influencers are making upward of $100,000 a year as are Black ones who are making similar content to similarly sized audiences, according to a study published in December by MSL, a communications company, and The Influencer League, an educational organization. The report also found a 29 percent pay gap between white creators and all creators of color.

"We want to ensure that as Black creators’ content is being distributed as it already is, they are getting the proper attribution so that they have the opportunity to get all of those growth and monetization and career-starting opportunities like their contemporaries are," said Boyd, a Spelman College graduate. “It’s really critical, as we’re moving towards this new age where creators are so important and creators are really able to use their craft to support themselves in their lives, that Black creators are getting the same opportunity, as they’re already creating the content.”

Alexis Michelle Adjei is a data analyst at Instagram.
Alexis Michelle Adjei is a data analyst at Instagram.Noemie Tshinanga

Adjei and Boyd joined Meta in August 2020 before landing on the idea the following February. They worked on it with colleague Alexandra Zaoui, building it out together and pitching it across different teams at Instagram’s parent company, Meta, until eventually getting their own team, which prepared the feature to launch this week under the pair’s leadership.  

Adjei, a Stanford University graduate, said the need for a formal credit was apparent, and it just took the right set of eyes at Meta to see it. 

“I think we were just so close to the need that we were able to see and we kind of had that same situation of like, why doesn’t this exist? And then we went the next step of like, let’s make it exist.”

Adjei and Boyd said the attribution will not affect the algorithm, which determines what posts are in a user's feed. But since the algorithm already considers what type of content users previously liked, viewed or shared when determining how to personalize content to users, the reach of credited creators should continue to grow naturally as a result.

“Now, you can just have this enhanced tag and the idea there was because we know that Black creators’ content was already going viral and was being shared," Boyd said. "But they weren’t getting that attribution. The hope is that they will now get the credit and that piece of content where their contribution can be traced back to their accounts so that people have the opportunity to follow them and they can grow their influence.”

Adjei and Boyd said the goal is to curb the problem of uncredited Black work. And for Black creators to go as viral as their content.

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CORRECTION (March 7, 2022, 2:07 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled in some places the last name of the data analyst who worked to develop the feature. She is Alexis Michelle Adjei, not Adijei.