Instagram denies shadowbanning exists on the platform

Instagram recently denied shadowbanning allegations. FILE PHOTO: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Instagram recently denied shadowbanning allegations. FILE PHOTO: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Published Jun 6, 2023


Meta-owned photo and video-sharing platform Instagram has denied shadowbanning allegations as the social network touts more transparency on the app.

The platform recently made the claim when it posted an explainer on its blog, detailing how content on Instagram was distributed among its users.

Unbeknown to many social network users, shadowbans are reported to occur against accounts by a platform, which uses algorithms to limit a creator's content from being widely viewed among their audience or in general public content streams, similar to those found on "discover" pages.

More often than not, when a user is shadowbanned, there isn't a proper way to tell, despite this most popular social network denying claims of shadowbanning users' content.

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said that the platform had many direct conversations with its community to understand better what people mean by shadowbanning.

"Though there isn't one shared definition, we know some people use the term to imply that a user's account or content is limited or hidden without a clear explanation or justification. When we rank content across Instagram, that's not our intention," Mosseri said.

However, Instagram is one of many to address shadowban concerns. Similarly, short-form, video-sharing app TikTok has denied shadowbanning's existence on the platform since its growth in popularity.

Meanwhile, towards the end of 2022, Twitter owner Elon Musk took to the microblog to announce its plans for shadowbanning, as the company began work on a software update to show true account status to inform users more clearly if they've been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal -- similar to new functionality expected from Instagram.

"The community's concerns about shadowbanning have made it clear that there is more we can do to increase transparency so people have more information about what's going on with their account," Mosseri said.

"Contrary to what you might have heard, it's in our interest as a business to ensure that creators are able to reach their audiences and get discovered so they can continue to grow and thrive on Instagram.

“If there is an audience that is interested in what you share, then the more effectively we help that audience see your content, the more they will use our platform," he added.

As part of its transparency efforts, Instagram announced last year that it had built features like Account Status to help users understand why their account's content may not be eligible to be recommended while allowing users the option to delete any content affecting their performance and appeal against the decision.

"We're continuing to invest in Account Status to bring more transparency to our community.

“For instance, we recently added the ability to see if your account is eligible to appear in Search or as a suggested account, and you can appeal if it's not. We plan to add even more transparency to this surface over time," Mosseri said.

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