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Instagram Moves to Limit Political Content

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

If your Instagram feed looks anything like mine lately, you’ve been seeing stories about how Instagram has started limiting political content. Meta quietly announced the move at the beginning of February this year with a post on Instagram’s blog page. In recent weeks, the decision has been increasingly discussed and has proved controversial.

In that initial blog post, Meta explained that Instagram and Threads would no longer be promoting political content defined as “potentially related to things like laws, elections, or social topics,” on the sections of these sites where content is presented to you via an algorithm. This means you will still see political content from people you follow, but it won’t appear on your Explore page, Reels, and recommended content or users. You can, however, reverse this setting in your Content Preferences settings, but political content is now set to “limit” by default.

It’s hard to determine a clear reason behind this decision. For years, social media platforms have been a site for both the democratization of news and reporting and a platform for misinformation and hate speech. Meta’s announcement simply stated, “We want Instagram and Threads to be a great experience for everyone.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said earlier, “One of the top pieces of feedback we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services.”

This decision comes amidst other recent tensions about free speech on social media platforms. Since acquiring X (formerly Twitter) in 2022, Elon Musk, who has since named himself a “free speech absolutist,” has relaxed content moderation on the platform. This move has put him in conflict with major advertisers after a surge in hate speech on X followed this change.

In addition, many believe that his Twitter monetization policy has led to an increase in intentionally overblown and misleading posts for users to increase their engagement, and thus their ad revenue money. On top of that, the federal government is again pushing to ban TikTok on the claim that the app is a national security threat.


#tiktokban House just overwhelming passed the bill that will essentially “ban” TikTok in the United States. BUT! This is NOT over yet. This bill will NOT become law today.

♬ original sound – 📺The News Girl 📰

According to data from the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of U.S. adults get news from social media “sometimes” or “often,” with Facebook and YouTube being the top platforms, followed by Instagram. This research also shows Instagram as one of the only social media platforms that had an increase from 2020 to 2023 in the percentage of users who regularly get their news from the site, in addition to a dramatic increase for TikTok. Notably, Facebook is not a part of Meta’s new limiting of political content policy (political content’s been supposedly reduced there but not limited by default), and it remains the site where the greatest number of Americans reportedly get news from.

It’s undeniable that people using social media as a platform for politics has contributed to the spread of misinformation and harmful echo chambers, at times adding fuel to catastrophic events in the real world. However, social media has also proved a tool for users to get information from people experiencing global conflicts where geographic barriers formerly left these narratives in the hands of reporters.

Amidst the American-backed Israeli assault on Gaza, horrific videos and photos shared on social media by Palestinians in Gaza have shifted many people’s views on the conflict. Such video and photo evidence has often come in contrast to major news outlets’ coverage, which too often minimizes the mass death and suffering of Palestinians. This discrepancy has caused traditionally reputable sources like The New York Times to lose credibility and people to prefer seeing what’s happening on the ground through social media as opposed to filtered through a news organization.

It’s hard to know yet the impacts of Instagram limiting political content. Social media essentially allows anyone to be a reporter, and this breakdown of barriers has mixed effects. Social media can be a tool for people experiencing conflicts to share evidence, but others can also claim videos and photos are from a place they’re not. It’s important to use critical thinking skills in any place you get news or political content from, but especially on platforms that present this information to you based on algorithms, engagement, and advertising.

And from now on, we’ll have to remember that just because something is not being talked about on Instagram doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

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Flora is a sophomore at FSU who grew up in Houston, TX, but more recently lived in Jacksonville, FL. She is studying History and is part of a pathways program for Geographic Information Science. This is her second semester at Her Campus which she loves to write for. <3