Photographers Protest as Meta Tags Authentic Images “Made with AI”


Meta has started labeling photos created with AI tools on its social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, since May. However, the company’s approach has drawn criticism from users and photographers after it automatically attached the “Made with AI” label to photos that were not created using AI tools.

There are numerous examples of Meta incorrectly labeling photos, including a photo of the Kolkata Knight Riders winning the Indian Premier League Cricket tournament. The label is only visible on mobile apps and not on the web.

An Instagram photo of the Kolkata Knight Riders, labeled incorrectly as "Made with AI".
An Instagram photo of the Kolkata Knight Riders, labeled as “Made with AI.” Image Credit: Instagram (screenshot)

Many photographers have expressed concerns over their images being wrongly tagged with the “Made with AI” label, arguing that simply editing a photo with a tool should not trigger the label. Former White House photographer Pete Souza, for instance, had one of his photos labeled as “Made with AI” after using Adobe’s cropping tool.

A photo taken by Pete Souza, but which Instagram has labeled as “Made with AI.” Image Credit: Instagram (screenshot)

Souza suspects that Meta’s algorithm is triggered by the action of “flattening the image” before saving it as a JPEG. Meta has declined to comment on Souza’s experience and other photographers’ posts that were incorrectly tagged.

In a February blog post, Meta explained that it uses metadata to detect the label, relying on industry standards such as C2PA and IPTC. However, some photographers have sided with Meta’s approach, arguing that any use of AI tools should be disclosed.

Despite the controversy, Meta provides no separate labels to indicate if a photographer used a tool to clean up their photo or used AI to create it. The company’s label only specifies that “Generative AI may have been used to create or edit content in this post” if users tap on the label. With U.S. elections approaching, social media companies are under pressure to correctly handle AI-generated content.

Ivan Mehta
Ivan Mehta
Ivan covers global consumer tech developments. He is based out of India and has previously worked at publications including Huffington Post and The Next Web.

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