If you’ve been wondering why fewer people are seeing your Instagram posts, there’s now an official tool that may help you find out.
Announced today by Instagram head Adam Mosseri, the new tool is an enhancement to the app’s existing ‘Account status’ functions that will reveal whether any of your posted content could be causing your account to be quietly held back from a wider audience.
Content that doesn’t breach Instagram’s published community guidelines may still fall foul of its stricter ‘recommendations guidelines’ which determine whether content is eligible to appear in places like ‘Explore’ or as recommended content to users who don’t currently follow you.
According to Mosseri, breaching these unpublished rules can cause your whole account to “end up in a state where it’s not eligible for your photos and videos to show up” to non-followers. This means only people who actively choose to follow you will be able to see your posts, severely limiting your reach.
To check your own account, go to the Settings menu in the Instagram app and select Account, then Account status. Here you will find a summary of any posts deemed to be in violation of Instagram’s guidelines and be given the opportunity to take action to resolve the issue. This could mean editing or deleting any offending posts, or appealing Instagram’s decision if you feel it has been unfair.
In this section, you will also find information on how Instagram’s policies work, what happens when you break them, and how you can appeal.
The new tool will come as a welcome addition to those who feel they have been ‘shadowbanned’ by the system. However, what the new tool doesn’t appear to address is the all-too-common situation where your content doesn’t appear to be shown to many accounts that do follow you.
Reaction to Mosseri’s announcement has been mixed, with a significant number of comments bemoaning significant drops in engagement that seem unrelated to any breaches of content guidelines. Others complain about the inconsistent way Instagram’s rules seem to be enforced, with content that’s allowed on one account being flagged as inappropriate when the same images are posted on another.
As a side note, even if your content is deemed recommendable by Instagram, posting photos and videos that come close to the mark may result in accounts not seeing your posts if they have adjusted their ‘Sensitive content control’ settings to limit such content.
At least now, with the new tools, we’ll have greater insight into what’s happening behind the scenes and a new route to an appeals process for recommended posts. However, whether or not Instagram will be able to process these appeals correctly, and in a timely manner, remains to be seen.
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