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Instagram is telling creators when and why their posts are ‘shadowbanned’

The app will show creators when their posts are blocked from Explore and other recommendations.

Instagram

Instagram’s latest update aims to help creators better understand one of the most frustrating aspects of the app: the dreaded “shadowban.” The app is updating its account status feature to help creators “understand if their account’s content is eligible to be recommended to non-followers.”

With the change, Instagram will allow anyone using a “professional” account to see if their posts are currently blocked from recommendations. The notice will appear in the app’s “account status feature,” and show users "a selection" of offending posts, offering the chance to edit or delete them, or appeal any decision they think was a mistake.

For now, the feature only covers posts that have been blocked from recommendations in Explore, Feed and Reels. But the company says it’s working on expanding the feature so creators will know if they are blocked from suggestions at the account level as well, such as in search or “suggested accounts.”

Though Instagram avoids using the word “shadowban,” the change is clearly meant to address long-running complaints from creators about why their posts aren’t being distributed in the way they expect. To diffuse these concerns, the company has tried in recent years to better explain how its algorithm works, and pointed to its recommendation guidelines to help creators understand the inner workings of the app.

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"We know reach can be volatile," Instagram Head Adam Mosseri said in a video about the update. "We know it's important for creators to understand how Instagram works if they're going to use it over the long run."

By now showing users exactly why their content is being removed from recommendations, the company is hoping creators will be able to take steps to “fix” their mistakes. At the very least, it could give creators some satisfaction to see an acknowledgement that their content has indeed been reduced in visibility, and provide the opportunity to ask for a second look. An Instagram spokesperson said review teams will work “as quickly as possible,” but didn’t say how long the step could take.

Correction: An earlier version of this story cited an older video Mosseri posted about account status. This post has been updated to reflect Mosseri's most recent comments about the feature.