Goodbye to politics on Instagram: Meta limits by default showing political content from accounts you don't follow

Goal It announced it in February, but it is now that it has implemented the change in the United States and many users are discovering it. So he said that did not want to “proactively recommend political content from accounts you do not follow”. This has meant the integration of a new option in the Instagram settings that allows you to choose between limit and do not limit political content. The surprise for its users is that By default the first option is activated, which in practice means putting a barrier between this type of content and users. The 21st century version of the old “better not to talk about politics” in the middle of the American election year.

The first question is to know what exactly Instagram understands by political content. According to the app's Help Center, it is the “content that mentions: Governments, elections and social issues that affect a group of people and/or society in general”. Many things fit under this generic definition besides influencers talking about politics, including media publications, to which Instagram does not refer in any sense in the information about this measure, and also to the accounts of the politicians themselves, a specific case that Meta did explain in his blog in February .

In other words, a user who follows the president of the United States will be able to continue seeing the publications from Biden's official account, but one who does not will not come across its content on the platform. Neither in the Post Feed, nor in Reels, nor in the recommendations nor in the accounts suggested by Instagram to the user.

“This change does not affect posts from accounts people choose to follow; It affects what the system recommends, and people can control whether they want more. “We've been working for years to show people less political content based on what they told us they wanted and what posts they told us were political,” he said. Dani Leverspokesperson for Meta, told Ars Technica.

Although it is common for platforms to directly inform their users of these types of changes from the application, In this case it has not been like that. After announcing it in February on the Meta and Instagram blogs, users who have entered the account settings have found in the section Suggested content a new option, Political content. By clicking on it you can choose between Limit and Do not limit, the first being active by default. The user can change it to their liking but first they must know that they have the option to do so, something in which Meta has not put much interest despite the depth of the change. The new option has also been introduced in Threadsthe social network created in the image and likeness of Twitter by Meta.

The new option to limit political content. Instagram.

This change particularly affects the influencers on the platform who deal with this type of content and who will see their possibilities of expanding their audience limited. According to The Washington Post, “news makers” are upset by the decision of Meta and ensure that the value of the platform decreases.

“The whole added value of social networks for political people is that can reach ordinary people that otherwise they would not hear a message that they need to hear, such as, for example, that abortion is on the ballot in Florida, or that they are voting today,” Keith Edwards, political strategist for the Democratic party and content creator, told the media. .

The Wall Street Journal already published at the beginning of 2023 that Meta had the intention to reduce the amount of political content displayed to users after the criticism received for how it managed the one related to the riots that took place at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“People have told us that they want to see less political content,” Meta said on his blog, and in this way he intends to ensure that Instagram continues to be “a great experience for everyone”.