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Hundreds of creators sign letter slamming Meta’s restrictions on political content

If you haven’t been seeing a lot of political content on Instagram lately, there’s a reason for that. Since March, Instagram and Threads have had new default settings that limit the political content you see from people you don’t follow.

Hundreds of creators, convened by GLAAD and Accountable Tech, have signed an open letter asking Instagram to make political content restrictions an opt-in feature, rather than enabling it by default.

“Many of us on Instagram provide authoritative and authentic content to help people understand current events, civic engagement and electoral participation, but Instagram limits us from reaching people online during a critical inflection point to help foster a more inclusive and engaged Democracy and social empowerment. Our nation’s priorities,” the letter reads.

Signatories of the letter include comedian Alok Vaid-Menon (1.3 million followers), Glee actor Kevin McHale (1.1 million followers), news account So Informed (3.1 million followers), activist Carlos Eduardo Espina (664,000 fans), meme accounts such as Under The Desk News (397,000 followers), political organizers and entertainers.

Instagram’s definition of political content leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which raises further concerns among these creators. It describes political content as “content that may be related to legal, electoral or social topics, etc.”

The letter states that this “jeopardizes the ability of marginalized people to speak about their lived experiences on the Meta platform” and limits conversations around topics such as climate change, gun control and reproductive rights.

For political creators, these restrictions will also impact their livelihoods, as reaching new audiences will become more difficult. While Instagram itself isn’t particularly profitable (revenue is not shared regularly with creators), building a following on the platform can lead to other financial opportunities, such as brand sponsorships.

As U.S. election season approaches, Instagram’s decision to distance itself from politics appears to be a way of damage control — and Meta isn’t doing so well Track record When it comes to its role in elections. But Meta could cause more problems by isolating users into political echo chambers, never allowing them to be exposed to any information from people outside their existing circles.

“Removing political advice as the default, thereby preventing people from seeing suggested political content, poses a serious threat to political participation, education and activism,” the letter said.

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