Can you tell if a news outlet, an NGO or a government is picturing a person, an event or an issue fairly? It can be very hard to assess visual “balance” when photos are scattered across a website, and appear sporadically over a span of time. There may be an anecdotal impression that there is bias, but visual bias has been very difficult to document.
The social media site Pinterest is now making documentation possible.
Have you heard of Pinterest? According to the site itself, it’s “a Virtual Pinboard” that lets users “organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” Doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of site that would help journalists or academics, governments or NGOs, does it? But Pinterest is turning out to be a stealth tool for researchers.