Hvad er shadowbanning?

What is shadowbanning?

Shadowbanning is a widespread and wildly debated topic - does it or doesn't it exist? Read more about the phenomenon and what you can do if someone you follow is affected here

What is shadowbanning on Instagram?

Shadowbanning means that Instagram blocks or partially blocks an account without notifying the account owner. This is done by, amongst other things, making it more difficult to find the account through the search function, or by having posts hidden on followers' timelines. 

Shadowbanning is not an official term, and the CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has stated that shadowbanning does not exist or is used by Instagram to "punish" users. However, Instagram's new guidelines, including the new "sensitive content" filter from 2021, confirms that the platform hides or deletes public posts if they are deemed "inappropriate". This means that even if an account has not necessarily violated Instagram's rules, its content will be hidden if it is deemed "upsetting" for certain users.

But "inappropriate" and "upsetting" are extremely subjective terms and many users on Instagram find that the practice of shadowbanning, deleting posts or suspending accounts targets people somewhat randomly - or rather that the rules apply to some, but not all.

How long does a shaddowban last?

Since shadowbanning is not officially recognized by Meta (which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp), there is no official way to undo it. Some claim that the ban gets lifted after 2-3 weeks, while others say longer. 

What can be done against shadowbanning?

When you have a platform on Instagram, there are a number of measures you can utilize to create awareness and stimulate activity again. It can be things like encouraging followers to like, save and especially share posts, as this gives the possibility for a greater reach, which Instagram is otherwise trying to limit.

In addition, you can check your "sensitive content" filter on Instagram. You can do this by going to your profile, pressing the settings located in the right corner (the icon with the three lines), selecting "account", then "sensitive content control" and then "allow". You should then have access to content that would otherwise be hidden. However, it is only possible to allow "sensitive content" if you have registered your age, as only 18+ people are allowed to switch off the filter.

Shadowbanning is more than just banning

Shadowbanning is a symptom of a larger problem. It stems from the same issue targeted by the "Free the Nipple" movement, which focuses on the arbitrary censorship of nipples on people with vulvas but not on people with penises. It  stems from a view of sexuality, sex and the body itself, that for generations have been characterized by shame and oppression. Although the general conversation in society about topics like sex and sexuality has slowly turned towards a more open and accepting dialogue, there is still a long way to go, and exclusions from communities like Instagram are slowing this development. Censorship leads to further stigmatization and taboo. It removes one of the most accessible forms of clear, inclusive education about the body and the self, which everyone can benefit from. It destroys or makes it difficult to participate in the communities created by and for minority groups such as LGBT+, which for some are vital gathering places where you can feel seen, understood and accepted. 

For smaller businesses that rely heavily on organic traffic and exposure on platforms such as Instagram, shadowbanning is also very problematic and potentially very damaging. The same applies to sex workers who primarily work or advertise online - by being excluded from platforms such as Instagram, some are pressured to turn to street based sexwork, which greatly increases the risk of violence and abuse.

While shadowbanning as a method of exclusion is probably not going away any time soon, it is important to continue to support, share and otherwise interact with sex educators, sex shops, sex workers and anyone else who is affected by bans and punishment for simply speaking out about so-called " inappropriate" topics. By continuing to push back and show what the filter is otherwise try to hide, something as natural as sex and pleasure will slowly be less of a taboo.