Social Media is Changing… and It’s a Little Bit Shifty.
Ever since the new legislation was brought in in 2018 which required all Instagram influencers to use tags or other indicators that they are being paid or sponsored to promote a product, things seem to be on a downward spiral for influencers. But the shifting tides of Social Media won’t just hit the top-ranked influencers who have become modern icons of capitalism.
Thankfully, that will limit the number of children who grow up stating that they want to be an Instagram influencer when they grow up and hopefully, we can start to move away from a more vanity-centric society. But what does this have to say about freedom of speech and expression? Even more worryingly what does it have to say about the futures of people who have invested so heavily in creating an online presence?
Adapting and embracing change has always been a pivotal aspect of success, but when change is imposed to limit personal success, then it’s time to start getting a little bit annoyed.
You probably won’t have the last laugh if you think it’s funny that the influencers are getting knocked off their pedestals.
Remember how hilarious everyone thought it was when one ‘entitled’ influencer got her page deleted? The YouTube video of her crying after discovering her page had disappeared got two million views. People revelled in watching in her fall. But we’re all just dominoes on the ground waiting for our own horizontal collision.
I’ll do my best not to get all ‘tin hat’ here, but it really is no surprise that the powers that be at Facebook & Instagram HQ are a little concerned about the prominent platforms which they are giving to ‘normal’ people.
Here are just a few of the changes Instagram & Facebook will be implementing and considering implementing
Sex Sells and Instagram Doesn’t Want Anyone to be Buying
Chances are, no matter who you follow or what tags you follow, you will probably see a fair bit of skin while you are scrolling through your Instagram feeds. But all of that could potentially change – maybe you’ve already noticed it happening.
Instagram released a statement on their new take on sexually suggestive and other lewd content which may explain why you may have been getting fewer likes on your posts recently. They didn’t give much away, but it’s bad news for the non-PG users;
“We have begun reducing the spread of posts that are inappropriate but do not go against Instagram’s Community Guidelines.”
So, if someone at Insta HQ thinks your post is in bad taste, they’ll make sure that fewer of your followers see it. Visual artists who have a particularly macabre style will have a hard job promoting their content in the future. But I suppose it is good news for people who love to write inspirational Insta posts – just don’t try and flog a product or a service at the same time.
This is just one of the ways in which Facebook and Instagram are trying to safeguard the platforms. But there’s a fine line between safeguarding and censoring, wouldn’t you say? Many independent clothing companies are now struggling to promote or even post images of their products, with images of shoes being deemed sexual. Major retailers don’t have to worry about this, it’s always going to impact those without the multi-million franchises the hardest.
It will be up to the specially appointed content moderators to sniff out your potentially offensive content. Meanwhile, women named Karen will be able to fill their feeds with pictures of their cats and blurry pictures of their plates on curry night at Wetherspoons – just what Instagram was intended for!
The real impact will be felt by creators of all capacities who are already struggling to reach their existing fans let alone monetize on their posts by directing their audience to other websites.
Can’t Get No Validation
I don’t care who you are, or what kind of Instagram page you run, no one can deny that seeing one of your posts become incredibly popular on Instagram is immensely satisfying. Part of that boils down to the fact that we fully well know that other people will be able to see just how successful our posts are, and for a brief moment, we feel a little smug.
Well, for some users, that’s all going to change after Instagram has decided that they will stop displaying how many likes some users get on their posts!
This is in a bid to make Instagram a happier and healthier place to be, so we won’t log onto Instagram in the future and become bitter as we see just how many likes our friends, arch enemies, and estranged ex-partners are getting on their posts. Instead, it will all be about the content itself and not the engagement. We can’t see that going down all too well.
For now, it is only some users in Canada who will be affected by this change – but this could happen to you too in the very near future. Although, it’s not all bad news. If you REALLY want to see how many likes a post has had, you can always manually count how many people liked it. But please don’t do that. Because that would be super sad.
Crickets Amongst the Alt-Right… and Pretty Much Anything Else That Facebook Doesn’t Like
Alex Jones has been one of the most recent Alt Right figures to have had the welcome mat pulled out from beneath him recently. It was curtains for him from the 2nd of May 2019 as the Infowars conspiracy theorist was removed from the platform along with a few other right-wing personalities.
This is part of Facebook and Instagram’s new crackdown on “dangerous individuals and organisations policy”. Even though it means that there will be less hate, fake news and general toxic bile on the platform, it also paints a very poignant picture that if Facebook and Instagram don’t agree with your ideology, there’s not all too much you can do about it.
In 2018 literally hundreds of pages were removed from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter after Facebook deemed them unauthentic, but were they? Plenty of alternative media, libertarian, and anti-police brutality pages were taken down, and when they tried to argue the validity it fell on deaf ears.
The most popular supposedly inauthentic page which had been taken down was The Free Thought Project which focused on government transparency. You can see for yourselves that there are plenty of articles which you wouldn’t see on mainstream media outlets. But, does that mean that it’s not real? Can we really trust the mainstream media to put the truth in front of us?
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t say that mainstream news outlets are all that they cracked up to be. They’re a little bit sensational, aren’t they?
Potentially Jon Snow has a phobia of white people, but what’s the excuse for ITV reporter Alastair Stewart firing shots at actress Emma Thompson for trying to end the poverty which is faced by millions of children in the UK? He essentially implied that the children should be left to speak for themselves and that actresses have no place in dealing such matters.
Women have used actresses as role models for years, granted, for the most part, that may be down to aesthetics, but there are no laws in place which could restrict actresses or any other successful creative from voicing their opinion. Evidently, the mainstream media doesn’t like that. It is easy for mainstream media to be moderated, but independent media is another beast entirely.
It can be hard to predict what will come next from Facebook and Instagram as they try to make the internet safe and not a toxic place to be. At this point, anyone who is intending to promote themselves or advertise via the two platforms should be incredibly wary of the new changes in 2019.
Let’s just hope that sometime in the near future someone creates an alternative fair platform for users who don’t have to fear the algorithms which are set up to try and ensure that independent businesses fail.