Instagram’s murky ‘shadow bans’ just serve to censor marginalised communities

Joseph, Chanté

Vulnerable and marginalised communities on Instagram have been calling for a wider conversation to address what they say is the platform’s censoring of queer and plus-sized bodies. Instagram has a confusing policy of hiding certain content from its users – and in the past few weeks, Pxssy Palace (a popular queer arts collective and London club night) has called out the photo-sharing platform for “shadow banning” some of their content. Shadow banning refers to when images aren’t outright removed from the platform, but instead strategically hidden from users. This strategy prevents users from searching shadow-banned hashtags, and removes affected content from Instagram’s Explore page.