Instagram Shadowbans Influencers


We all saw the rise of TikTok in the Covid “quarantine era” as influencers such as Addison Rae, Charli D’Amelio, Bryce Hall and more were quickly rising to fame. They were posting dances to trending songs such as Supalonely by Benee, Savage by Megan Thee Stallion, dancing in slow motion with Timothée Chalamet to Play Date by Melanie Martinez and other viral songs. Other users were getting into shape with the Chloe Ting workouts and challenges, watching quick recipe videos, entertained by macro shots of all sorts of things showing every small detail, listening to ASMR videos with high-definition sounds, and more.

The quick rise of TikTok’s popularity caused many other social media sites to decline in overall consumer use – stirring some rivalry, specifically between Instagram and TikTok.

Instagram, known for its aesthetic feeds, sharing pictures with family, friends and followers, began making some controversial changes in hopes to try and keep up with its competitors. The biggest update being its “reels” feature; a video feature, very similar to TikTok’s. Changing the platform’s algorithm, included showing content from people outside the user’s circle of friends and followers, also created some buzz.

Instagram Reels: New feature from Facebook aimed to create competition with TikTok.

When Instagram introduced reels, many users were posting their TikTok’s, or reposting humorous TikTok’s right to their Instagram. Each video included the TikTok logo that is seen on all TikTok recorded videos. Instagram, not liking the idea of promoting their competitor, began to flag these videos and shadowban* users as a way to cancel out this unwanted cross-platform marketing.

* Shadowban definition: the act of hiding or restricting a user’s content without informing the user that it’s happening. This typically occurs when a user has violated Instagram’s community guidelines — or the content is otherwise deemed inappropriate. If you’re shadowbanned, your content won’t appear on anyone’s feed, Explore, or hashtag pages unless they already follow you (Hubspot).

Like many, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian are not fans of the changes being made to Instagram and spoke out about it to their combined following of 686 million Instagram users. The sisters reposted an Instagram post created by Tati Bruening (@illumitati) that read “Make Instagram Instagram Again. Stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute photos of my friends. Sincerely, Everyone.” With Bruening’s (@illumitati) caption for her post stating, “I’m starting a movement. Let’s bring back the old Instagram, share this to your stories and sign my petition. (NYPost)”

Overall, consumers have spoken out about their frustration with Instagram’s updates and have acknowledged that each platform offers a different entertainment experience, which is something that is desired across multiple social platforms. One place to go to watch longer videos like YouTube, a place to view pictures of friends and followers like Instagram, a platform to view short “snip-it” videos like TikTok and now we have other social media networks like Be Real making an entrance offering a whole different perspective of the social media side.

With the ever-evolving social world, it is important, especially for businesses, to stay on top of the relevancy of each social media platform and what they need to succeed, as well as staying current with trends. This is something we make sure to do here at Smith Design, especially when working with our clients.

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