200+ Creators Call on Instagram to Stop Limiting “Political Content” By Default

Accountable Tech and GLAAD organized an open letter signed by more than 200 creators with a collective following of more than 18 million Instagram users calling on Meta to give users the autonomy to adjust their algorithm by making the setting to limit political and social issues content opt-in rather than on-by-default. In March, Meta rolled out its Instagram “political content” policy to limit the reach of content “likely to mention governments, elections, or social topics that affect a group of people and/or society at large.”

Meta’s decision to limit political content by their own vague definition is the company’s latest abdication of its responsibility to uphold open and safe online platforms for expression, discussion, education, and advocacy. Over the years, Meta has enticed individuals, creators and organizations to post and invest on their platforms only to turn its back on them, causing creators and organizations that engage in political and social topics to experience diminished digital influence, a decreased audience, and a major decline in engagement

The letter from creators read, “Rather than unilaterally changing the default settings of accounts to limit political content without transparency to users across platforms, Meta should instead empower users to opt-out of seeing suggested political content. As users of Meta’s platforms, we did not choose to automatically opt-out of receiving suggested political content on civic activism and news updates. Removing political recommendations as a default setting, and consequently stopping people from seeing suggested political content poses a serious threat to political engagement, education, and activism.”

“Limiting the reach of creators without notice or definition of what constitutes ‘political content’ threatens their identities and livelihoods, while leaving hundreds of millions of users without access to critical news content during the biggest global election year in history,” said Nicole Gill, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Accountable Tech. “Today’s fragmented media environment – that Meta helped create – has resulted in social media platforms having outsized influence over the way information is presented and disseminated, and this decision will have negative effects both on and off of their platforms.” 

“Categorizing ‘social topics that affect a group of people and/or society large’ as ‘political content’ is an appalling move. LGBTQ people’s lives are simply that, our lives,” said a spokesperson from GLAAD. “Our lives are not ‘political content’ or political fodder. This is a dangerous move that not only suppresses LGBTQ voices, but decimates opportunities for LGBTQ people to connect with each other, and allies, as our content will be excluded from the algorithm.” 

Read the full letter and list of creators here.


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