Instagram attempts to explain ‘shadowbanning’, but creators still aren’t happy

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri released a blog post(opens in a new tab) on Wednesday in an effort to explain how the app works in relation to its algorithm, rankings, and what content people get to see. Part of this included a much-needed address of “shadowbanning”: a specific kind of social media censorship(opens in a new tab) that doesn’t remove a post, but conceals it from public view, largely for reasons that are unclear.

“Contrary to what you might have heard,” Mosseri wrote, “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.”

Mosseri went on to address “the community’s concerns” regarding shadowbanning, essentially assuring users that Instagram will increase transparency and provide support to creators who think their content has been wrongfully suppressed.

“If anything makes your content less visible, you should know about it and be able to appeal,” reads the post. Features like Account Status(opens in a new tab) is one such way, where users can check if their account is being recommended to non-followers and understand other issues. Here, users can appeal should they feel their posts are being shadowbanned. Mosseri also pointed to a resource center(opens in a new tab) for improving reach across Instagram and a Meta page explaining the Instagram ranking system(opens in a new tab).

Instagram may be making moves towards increased transparency around the subject, but some creators aren’t totally sold.

In an accompanying video(opens in a new tab) posted by Mosseri yesterday, many creators left comments thanking Mosseri for the summary. But a significant portion of the comments were coming from frustrated users, many of whom had personal complaints and seem unsure of whether their content is actually being uplifted by the app.

Influencer and entrepreneur Jocelyn McClellan (@jocelyn.mcclellan(opens in a new tab)) wrote, “the one thing I don’t like is the ‘shadow ban thing'”, going on to say: “hardly anyone [sees] my content anymore”.

“I never got in trouble at all,” she wrote. “I’m verified. I reached out for help. I got one initial message back and then nothing. I have 222k followers had 224k and it went down fast and then it got down to them showing my posts to only 1,200 people instead of the thousands it had. So this doesn’t make sense to me how it happened so fast but also how it was even able to get that low with that many followers.”

Another account, @thomasschoolerphotography(opens in a new tab), commented: “Instagram gives algorithm to scam bots and people who steal from others but shadow bans original content creators just trying to get their name out there”.

Instagram has addressed the shadowbanning issue before, in a blog post from 2021(opens in a new tab) and a more recent update with transparency tools in 2022.

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