The Real Reason Instagram Just Added A Special Feature For Content Creators

In the journalism world, failing to give proper credit to a source in your story, no matter who they are, is called plagiarism. In the social media world, failing to credit a Black or otherwise marginalized influencer when you perform a dance on TikTok or share a photo on Instagram that they created is called cultural appropriation. Now there's a new feature on the latter platform that will ensure those creators get the proper credit they deserve.

Instagram has introduced enhanced tags, a special tag made exclusively for professional and influencer accounts that ensures the creators behind those accounts get credit for their content. This feature was created by data analyst Alexis Michelle Adjei and engineer Cameryn Boyd in an attempt to address issues Black creators have faced when sharing their content on the Meta-owned platform, such as not getting credit for starting viral trends or a cut of any profits even if they do receive proper attribution.

Elevating Black voices on Instagram

A study published by MSL and The Influencer League in December 2021, titled "Time to Face the Influencer Pay Gap," found a 35% pay gap between white social media influencers and Black ones. It also found 41% of white social media influencers made up to $100,000 annually compared to 23% of BIPOC influencers with the same audience size of 50,000 or more followers. Boyd told NBC News that she and Adjei created enhanced tags to address those disparities in an age where being a social media creator and making a living from it is possible, so long as the content doesn't go uncredited.

"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," Boyd told NBC. "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."

How the enhanced tag was born

Adjei and Boyd came up with the idea for enhanced tags in February 2021 after joining Meta six months prior and started working on it with colleague Alexandra Zaoui. It took them over a year to flesh out the feature as they pitched the idea to different teams at Meta until they rounded up their own team, which prepared the feature for launch this week. Adjei told NBC that the need for an advanced crediting feature was apparent, and her team shared the same sentiment, especially as Black creators were refusing to create a new dance trend based on a Megan Thee Stallion song as a protest over the lack of credit.

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

And now, here we are. Any Black musician, fashion designer, artist, dancer, or any other specialist creating content on Instagram will get the credit they need to support themselves and nurture their social media careers, no excuses.