Instagram has announced that it shall be elevating its platform in order to provide a better space to amplify Black voices, following a backlash from its facilitation of the #BlackoutTuesday movement.
Earlier this month, social media apps such as Instagram were filled with black squares. The idea was to free up social media space in order for people to take the time to educate themselves on the Black Lives Matter movement. However, Instagram was soon criticized for potentially “shadowing banning” – the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content in hashtags, making it difficult to search for necessary material.
One Twitter user said that her entire feed was filled with “plain black squares when it was previously full of news and resources.” She added, “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.”
Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri has since published an official statement, saying, “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.”
As a result, Mosseri has pledged to assess how the app approaches harassment, account verification, distribution, and algorithmic bias, which should aim to make Black voices more vocal on Instagram. “This work is going to take some time, but we’re going to provide updates over the next few months – both about what we learn and what we address,” he adds.
In related news, Instagram and Facebook will allow its users to turn off political advertisements during the next U.S. election.