Indicating whether or not a person has been “shadowbanned” is a new function introduced this week on Instagram. Despite the fact that the phrase “shadowbanned” isn’t officially used by Instagram, it describes the situation in which your profile and posts are no longer shown in users’ feeds or suggested to anyone else. As a result, it may be more challenging for the platform’s general audience to find that user’s profile.
A few days later, Elon Musk revealed that Twitter is developing a feature with similar functionality, which would be released in an upcoming update. The CEO didn’t go into specifics but did state that it would reveal a user’s “account status” and let them know if they were shadowbanned, with the chance to appeal the decision.
Engadget noted that Musk’s remark came just after Bari Weiss published the second part of her Twitter Files investigation, in which she accused Twitter of using “visibility filtering” on some conservative public personalities.
To paraphrase what sounds like shadowbanning, Weiss tweeted, “A new #TwitterFiles investigation reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users.”
While Musk hasn’t responded to the report head-on, since taking control at Twitter he has made attempts to reinstate controversial people who had been suspended. It appears that revealing shadowbanning is part of his larger goal to alter the platform’s regulations around the monitoring of content and accounts.
This week, Instagram added the option to show whether or not a user has been “shadowbanned.” The term “shadowbanned” describes the circumstance in which Instagram no longer recommends your account or displays your profile in user feeds, even though the term isn’t officially used by Instagram.
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