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On Instagram, women have been changing their genders in an effort to avoid a sexist algorithm that has been targeting them.
An odd trend on Instagram has arisen, with women changing their gender to ‘male’ on the app in an attempt to avoid potentially sexist censorship.
Earlier in the year, the social media giant began quietly demoting posts they deemed “inappropriate” yet not necessarily against the community guidelines. When questioned, Instagram has been pretty vague in highlighting what they’re looking to stamp out, other than “sexually suggestive” content.
This method of censorship is known as “shadow banning” and has rendered such posts restricted from appearing on other users’ Explore page and in hashtag search results. According to the Huffington Post, Instagram’s shadow-banning algorithms are inherently sexist, seemingly targeting women more than men; well, those with ‘women’ (or ‘prefer not to say’) as their gender on their account.
The tech company introduced this new process in an attempt to “keep people safe” on their app, but it has adverse effects on those that depend on Instagram for their livelihood, who have been urgently seeking ways to reanimate their reach and engagement. However, one account believes they might have the answer.
@everybodyvisible, an Instagram account dedicated to uncovering digital discrimination, reported earlier in the month of a potential way around the ban.
They had learned of several female dancers with business accounts who had noticed a considerable increase in engagement and visibility after changing their gender on the app to male. Their likes, post views, and general engagements were back to previous levels and it had directly coincided with the change in gender.
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🛠Possible hack going round the pole dance community: several WOMEN dancers with access to Instagram business/creator account analytics have reported better engagement and visibility and less ban-action – by simply editing their profile & changing their bio to ‘MALE’ instead of ‘FEMALE’ (or ‘prefer not to say’)? And then continuing to post their usual content. . Is it bizarrely less ‘’inappropriate’’ for a ‘’male’’ owned account to post ‘’borderline’’content of women and femme-presenting bodies than the actual owner of the body THEMSELVES? . We, and a journalist we are talking to would like to know your experiences and your reactions/comments! Hard data particularly helpful…thank you very much. Especial thanks to @jordankensley @applebite @thequeenofsexy @tropicalvertical and @michelleshimmy. Edit: big thanks to @mareejozayy for the editing suggestions to better include gender-diverse-identifying folk. 💜 Tell us when we don’t get it right!
The ‘hack’ is purely experimental and anecdotal at this point, but those affected by Instagram’s new policy have nothing else to lose. Facebook (the parent company of Instagram) told Mirror Online that “gender information from profiles has no impact on (the) content we filter from hashtags or the Explore page”.