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IG Blocked Political Content From Your Feed. Here’s How To Undo It

A lot of college students tend to get their news from social media, whether that means staying up to date with celebrities and trends, or learning about current events. While this, of course, isn’t the only way to collect information, it can be incredibly useful for busy college students who may not have time to read a full article in between classes, studying, part-time jobs, and everything else. (Plus, learning about the world is a great way to actually accomplish something while mindlessly scrolling!) For that reason, Instagram’s new political content limit is worth a closer look.

Censorship has become increasingly prevalent in conversations among college students as topics like the potential ban of TikTok are at the forefront of the news cycle. Now, Instagram’s latest move has many concerned their experience on their favorite photo-sharing app could be compromised as well.

On Feb. 9, Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and Threads) announced its intention to pull back on promoting political content on Instagram and Threads. “We want Instagram and Threads to be a great experience for everyone,” the company said in a statement. “We won’t proactively recommend content about politics on recommendation surfaces across Instagram and Threads.”

The company clarified in its statement that the Threads and Instagram political content limit would not impact any accounts users are following: “[The] updates apply to public accounts and in places where we recommend content such as Explore, Reels, In-Feed Recommendations, and Suggested Users — it doesn’t change how we show people content from accounts they choose to follow.”

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This move isn’t without backlash. Notably, Meta’s definition of political content is extremely broad —“potentially related to things like laws, elections, or social topics,” per the company’s statement — leaving users to wonder what type of content is actually being limited with this update. Many social media users are also criticizing the timing of the update, considering the United States is coming up on a major presidential election in November — a time when it may very well be more important than ever to be exposed to political content. Further, users are pointing out that the update is automatic, meaning political content is being limited on feeds without users opting in to this change. Those unaware of the update won’t even know it took effect on their own feeds.

If you’re worried about your own access to political content, you don’t have to be. Meta didn’t completely take away users’ ability to see political content recommendations; it’s just way easier to avoid them now. The political content limit can be turned on or off in the Instagram app’s settings. As mentioned, the limit is automatically turned on — in order to switch it off, you need to navigate to your content preferences in your app’s settings. Where “political content” is listed, simply tap the button saying “don’t limit political content from people you don’t follow.” From there, political content recommendations will be reinstated on your feed. 

Meta confirmed to NPR on March 25 that the changes had already begun rolling out for users, so if you want to keep getting political content recommendations, check your settings ASAP.

Addie Whightsil is a Public Relations student at the University of Oklahoma. Beyond academics, Addie's interests extend to the simple pleasures in life. She has an undeniable affection for juice, savoring every drop of its fruity goodness. Her fondness for Jellycats, those irresistibly huggable stuffed animals, adds a touch of whimsy to her daily life. However, what she really loves is sharing personal stories and life lessons for the internet to read.