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'Stop Silencing Us': Users Claim Instagram Is Shadow-Banning Posts on Gaza

Instagram users alleged that the views on their 'Stories' about Gaza and Palestine had drastically dropped.

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Scores of Instagram users took to social media platform X on Saturday, 15 October, to claim that their posts on Gaza are being "shadow-banned" by the Meta-owned social media platform.

While many claimed that their followers are being blocked from commenting on and sharing their posts, several users alleged that the views on their Instagram 'Stories' about Gaza and Palestine had drastically dropped compared to previous Stories.

What is a 'Shadow Ban'?

Shadow-banning pertains to blocking a social media user on a platform without their knowledge, typically by making their posts and comments no longer visible to other users.

'Stop Silencing Us': Users Claim Instagram Is Shadow-Banning Posts on Gaza

  1. 1. The Claims of Shadow-Banning

    Fatima Bhutto, Pakistani writer and niece of the country's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, took to X (formerly Twitter) and said: "@instagram is locking people out of my comments, limiting them. They are shadow banning anyone posting about Gaza and if I harbored any illusions about freedom of speech etc I’d be surprised, but here we are."

    "I initially thought they weren't (blocking people) till I tried to comment on one of my own posts but it seems like they definitely are now. I am sure it will get worse tomorrow," she said.

    She further said that she can still see her direct messages on the platform.

    Media personality Ahmed took to X and said: "It is confirmed my videos on Instagram, when shared by thousands through stories, are completely inaccessible and do not play. This is shadow banning and dramatically limits the reach of ppl like me reporting real news. Stop silencing Palestinians."

    "I just got another message - 'your video is no longer available to watch'. I mean, I spend countless hours with NGOs and people I've met in private from Meta and Facebook about shadow-banning," he said.

    "What does it say about the world and the US to blindfully continue to support Israel and not only that, but continue to give Israel the guarantee to always have support regardless of what they do, regardless of the war crimes, regardless of the genocide," he added.

    Another Instagram user, Amy, took to X to share screenshots of the number of views on her Stories.

    "I noticed that my stories from last night on Instagram were randomly gone this morning and now my current stories have gotten 2 views in 2+ hours. Instagram shadowbanned me for sharing the truth of whats happening in Gaza," Amy said.

    Over the past week, several users and influential personalities from Palestine reported that they were facing similar issues.

    Palestinian creator Adnan Barq was reportedly blocked from live-streaming last week. He also claimed that his content had been removed.

    A Mondoweiss West Bank correspondent’s Instagram account was suspended and restored several times last week, according to a report by The Intercept.

    Expand
  2. 2. What Does Meta Have To Say?

    Responding to concerns about the visibility of Stories, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone denied it had anything to do with the content of the posts.

    "We identified a bug impacting all Stories that re-shared Reels and Feed posts, meaning they weren’t showing up properly in people’s Stories tray, leading to significantly reduced reach," Stone tweeted on Sunday, 15 October.

    "This bug affected accounts equally around the globe and had nothing to do with the subject matter of the content - and we fixed it as quickly as possible," he added.

    However, this is not the first time that Meta platforms have been accused of shadow-banning posts on Palestine.

    During the 2021 conflict, scores of key Muslim figures including Sheikh Omar Suleiman, author Khalid Baydoun, and model Bella Hadid had accused the platform of blocking the reach of their posts.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

The Claims of Shadow-Banning

Fatima Bhutto, Pakistani writer and niece of the country's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, took to X (formerly Twitter) and said: "@instagram is locking people out of my comments, limiting them. They are shadow banning anyone posting about Gaza and if I harbored any illusions about freedom of speech etc I’d be surprised, but here we are."

"I initially thought they weren't (blocking people) till I tried to comment on one of my own posts but it seems like they definitely are now. I am sure it will get worse tomorrow," she said.

She further said that she can still see her direct messages on the platform.

Media personality Ahmed took to X and said: "It is confirmed my videos on Instagram, when shared by thousands through stories, are completely inaccessible and do not play. This is shadow banning and dramatically limits the reach of ppl like me reporting real news. Stop silencing Palestinians."

"I just got another message - 'your video is no longer available to watch'. I mean, I spend countless hours with NGOs and people I've met in private from Meta and Facebook about shadow-banning," he said.

"What does it say about the world and the US to blindfully continue to support Israel and not only that, but continue to give Israel the guarantee to always have support regardless of what they do, regardless of the war crimes, regardless of the genocide," he added.

Another Instagram user, Amy, took to X to share screenshots of the number of views on her Stories.

"I noticed that my stories from last night on Instagram were randomly gone this morning and now my current stories have gotten 2 views in 2+ hours. Instagram shadowbanned me for sharing the truth of whats happening in Gaza," Amy said.

Over the past week, several users and influential personalities from Palestine reported that they were facing similar issues.

Palestinian creator Adnan Barq was reportedly blocked from live-streaming last week. He also claimed that his content had been removed.

A Mondoweiss West Bank correspondent’s Instagram account was suspended and restored several times last week, according to a report by The Intercept.

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What Does Meta Have To Say?

Responding to concerns about the visibility of Stories, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone denied it had anything to do with the content of the posts.

"We identified a bug impacting all Stories that re-shared Reels and Feed posts, meaning they weren’t showing up properly in people’s Stories tray, leading to significantly reduced reach," Stone tweeted on Sunday, 15 October.

"This bug affected accounts equally around the globe and had nothing to do with the subject matter of the content - and we fixed it as quickly as possible," he added.

However, this is not the first time that Meta platforms have been accused of shadow-banning posts on Palestine.

During the 2021 conflict, scores of key Muslim figures including Sheikh Omar Suleiman, author Khalid Baydoun, and model Bella Hadid had accused the platform of blocking the reach of their posts.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Israel-Palestine   Gaza Attack 

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