Shadowbanning, Lgbtqıa+, Social Media, Aı, Ml, Algorithm

Shadowbanning, Lgbtqıa+

Achieving Instagram Growth In The Age Of AI And Algorithmic Bias

Achieving Instagram Growth In The Age Of AI And Algorithmic Bias

10/19/2021 7:14:00 AM

Achieving Instagram Growth In The Age Of AI And Algorithm ic Bias

Over the last few years, it has become clear that Instagram has an algorithmic bias towards certain accounts. Marginalized groups such as LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC have repeatedly been vocal about seeing their reach shrink significantly under the current system.

Having grown his platform to about 8 million followers and helping others achieve even more, Faisal has had to stick with Instagram through many seasons and the plethora of changes in their algorithm over the last decade, In his own words, “because of the constantly changing algorithms, it is very easy to get left behind on these platforms. Success on Instagram often has a lot to do with keeping your hand on the pulse, and to build enviable followership you often need help.”

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Companies like Instagram use algorithms to dictate what your feed should look like- which means that you're only seeing posts from people or brands that they want or brands that pay them. In this article, we try to understand a little about how this algorithm works. 

The New Instagram AlgorithmOne of the main misconceptions that creators have is the assumption that there is only one Instagram algorithm.themselves, “we use a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its purpose.”Faisal explains that Instagram’s algorithm can calculate a “

score of interest,” which calculates how likely someone is to interact with a post. There are four key factors that Instagram leverages to calculate a score of interest. General information about a post, whether the post is a photo or video, when the post was made, how many likes etc. 

The information about the poster; Are you following the poster? How often do you engage with them?Your Instagram activity: What type of content do you typically engage with often?   Your interaction history with the poster: do you typically like or comment on the poster’s posts?

Shafique explains further; “The Instagram algorithm will give your post more visibility if; your posts are set up to make people spend more time on it. If it is likely to be liked, commented on or saved, and if it contains CTA’s that enable people to take actions like tapping on your profile.”

Instagram is constantly identifying what its users are interested in and adapting its feed to reflect that. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram,admits as much, “We add and remove signals and predictions over time, working to get better at surfacing what you’re interested in,”

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This constant evolution is responsible for the difficulty in breaking into the scene and remaining constantly relevant. It is also partly responsible for the algorithmic bias that has become a major complaint about Instagram. How can users understand the algorithm and keep in touch with it? And how fair is the algorithm to certain kinds of content and people groups? 

Instagram Algorithmic Bias and Shadow BanningThe Instagram algorithm is one of the most talked-about topics in tech right now. The company has beenunder scrutiny for being biased against influencers and artistswhose content doesn't align with specific values (usually, posts that are sexual or political) or whose views align with or promote LGBTQIA per BIPOC philosophies. 

The term shadowbanning has become popularized as a term that explains one way Instagram purportedly propagates this bias. Shadowbanning is an unexplained throttling of an account so that its reach is limited, its posts are taking down, or its followers cannot find them. 

Instagram has sincedenied that shadowbanning is a real thing, but a deep look at their operations reveals that though the term “shadowbanning” may not be an Instagram-approved term, the practice is somewhat real. Instagram does not necessarily have people picking out posts and banning them, but their algorithms are trained on datasets many suspect to be biased and unenlightened.

Faisal ShafiqueFaisal ShafiqueFor instance, Instagram polices sexuality with very little nuance, finding it difficult to differentiate adult entertainment from sex-ed, sex-health, or sex-commentary. Ads for women’s pleasure companies and HIV/AIDS prevention are not allowed, while the platform allows ads for erectile dysfunction and condoms.  

Faisal explains that; “working with fashion brands like Fashion Nova whose contents are edgy, risque, and unique. You have to essentially learn how to game the gram and to adapt your content consistently.” How To Win Against The Algorithm“To achieve Instagram domination you need access to relevant data. The past informs your future success.” According to Shafique, “It is very important to use analytics to see what content works and doesn’t work and how your community is engaging with your posts over time. Sometimes, this is the only way you can learn about subtle algorithmic changes.

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”Creativity and the ability to make visually striking content are certainly at the top of the algorithm’s requirements. Other major traits include; consistency, publishing more video content, crafting captivating headlines and going live more often, and never ignoring Instagram stories. 

For Stories, the algorithm works differently; creators stand a greater chance of having their stories viewed if they post consistently. The more views creators gain, the higher their ranking. Stories are meant to be binge-watched, so the chances are that if creators post regularly, they will get viewed. Stories are also shown to users based on location, which explains why location-based hashtags are now frequently used.  

Many creators want to also appear frequently on the explore page. The Instagram algorithm works similarly with feeds and explore, butaccording toInstagram themselves, “the most important actions we predict in Explore include likes, saves, and shares.”

However, to come up in the Explore page, you need a creative use of hashtags and keywords since those are the two indices people now search with. Creators and influencers often need to rely on expert help to ensure that they do not become shadowbanned by using banned hashtags or banned keywords. 

Over 50 plus-sized content creators recently signed up to participate in the, calling on Instagram to ‘stop censoring fat bodies.’ The rallying against these biases is becoming more frequent and more forceful. Although instagram has subtlyand has vowed to evolve away from these biases, the company unlikely to change even in the face of mass criticism. So, we have to learn to walk the tightrope and advocate for change, while also supporting alternatives.

Read more: Forbes »

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