Instagram users called out the app earlier this month for blocking Black Lives Matter content.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri rolled out a plan to make sure Black voices are heard on the app as a result.
As a result of the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests, there has been a surge in activism beyond the streets—and social media is part of it. For those who aren't able to demonstrate IRL, apps like TikTok and Instagram have been a Godsend for people trying to educate themselves on the issues, stay aware, and learn more ways to get involved in the movement. But unfortunately, some of the most important voices on these apps are struggling to be heard. TikTok recently came under fire for silencing #BLM content (the bug has since been fixed), and now Instagram has been accused of doing the same.
After #BlackoutTuesday, people on Twitter called out Instagram for shadow banning info pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement. In case you were wondering, shadow banning by definition is the practice of blocking users or content in hashtags to make it difficult for others to find and share it on any given platform.
Just discovered the black lives matter hashtag on Instagram is shadowbanned what the fuck is the meaning of this @instagram
— 🦇EVAH DESTRUCTION (@EvahDestruction) June 5, 2020
My entire Instagram feed is just plain black squares when it was previously full of news and resources. It's not helping the algorithm amplify black voices, it's silencing them in an effort to let everyone know that you're silencing yourself and I feel that's counterproductive.
— VENUS ENVY (@VenusEnvyDrag) June 2, 2020
Everyone tell @tmz that @instagram is muting my voice please. I’ve had over 50 complaints about how followers can no longer find me. Or posts they commented on and their comments removed. I thought we were supposed to be #amplifymelenatedvoices not continuing to silence them.
— Mehcad (@MehcadBrooks) June 4, 2020
Following these accusations, Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri made a post on Instagram's official Blog page outlining a plan on how going forward his team will examine harassment, account verification, content distribution, and algorithmic bias so Black voices on Instagram get the visibility they deserve. In the statement, Adam wrote:
In the last few weeks, we’ve seen an incredible movement happening around the world. As these important conversations have come to our platform, we’ve seen communities on Instagram mobilizing to demand justice and express solidarity, support Black-owned businesses, elevate Black voices, and raise awareness for the equality of Black people everywhere.
At the same time, we’re also hearing concern about whether we suppress Black voices and whether our products and policies treat everyone equally. The irony that we’re a platform that stands for elevating Black voices, but at the same time Black people are often harassed, afraid of being ‘shadowbanned’, and disagree with many content takedowns, is not lost on me. This is a moment when people around the world are rightfully demanding actions over words, and we owe the same to our community.
Going forward, Adam will be looking into how LGBTQ+, body positivity, and art communities on Instagram can be helped by the new plan as well.
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