Instagram adjusting spam protocol as Black Lives Matter posts flood the platform

This week a flood of posts to Instagram triggered a protocol built in to the platform to combat spam. One element isn’t enough – a billion posts with the same hashtag posted in quick succession probably wouldn’t have any problem on Instagram. But a billion posts with the same hashtag and the exact same image, all at once – that’s where Instagram’s automatic spam protection comes in to take action.

Today, Instagram suggested that they were “aware that some people are incorrectly running into ‘action blocked’ messages when using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, or resharing related posts.” Instagram user support suggested that they have “technology that detects rapidly increasing activity on Instagram to combat spam.”

“Given the increase in content shared to #blacklivesmatter, this technology is incorrectly coming into effect,” said an Instagram representative. “We are resolving this issue as quickly as we can, and investigating a separate issue uploading Stories.”

Instagram leadership has made clear that they support the use of the Black Lives Matter hashtag, celebrate the use of the hashtag, and are “moving quickly” to make sure “voices using this hashtag are heard.”

Instagram released several statements on the matter in the last couple days. “We’re hearing asks from the community that posts related to Blackout Tuesday use the hashtag #blackouttuesday, and not #blacklivesmatter,” wrote an Instagram representative. “The #blacklivesmatter hashtag aggregates important information and resources for the community.”

An Instagram representative also suggested that “you can choose to edit your post caption to remove the #blacklivesmatter hashtag and your post will no longer be shown on that hashtag page. In some cases, it may take up to 10 minutes for the post to be removed once you edit it.” Meanwhile, Facebook is having some issues with similar matters.

The flood of support for Black Lives Matter and rage against police brutality and racism this week was sparked by the brutal public murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department in May of 2020. The campaign known as Black Out Tuesday was made to pause work and expand conversation on social justice and possibilities for the future in the United States and abroad.

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