Instagram stopped recommending political content – now social media users are noticing

Instagram stopped recommending political content to its 2 billion users in February, but now that campaign season is heating up, people are starting to notice. 

The February announcement from Instagram said it would be limiting political content only from accounts that users don’t follow – and that users can choose to still see them in their reels, recommendations and feeds.

From Instagram: 

If you decide to follow accounts that post political content, we don’t want to get between you and their posts, but we also don’t want to proactively recommend political content from accounts you don’t follow. So we’re extending our existing approach to how we treat political content – we won’t proactively recommend content about politics on recommendation surfaces across Instagram and Threads. If you still want these posts recommended to you, you will have a control to see them.

These recommendations updates apply to public accounts and in places where we recommend content such as Explore, Reels, In-Feed Recommendations and Suggested Users – it doesn’t change how we show people content from accounts they choose to follow. If political content – potentially related to things like laws, elections, or social topics – is posted by an account that is not eligible to be recommended, that account’s content can still reach their followers in Feed and Stories.

But the February announcement didn’t explicitly say that users would be automatically switched to the default position of limiting political content – and that they’d have to manually turn it on if they want politics in their feeds. That’s what has many users upset. 


Instagram rolled out changes to its political content algorithm in February, but users are just now taking note. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The change has triggered an uproar among some users who feel as if Instagram is unnecessarily limiting political discourse in a year that pivotal elections are being held in U.S. and other countries.

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"This announcement expands on years of work on how we approach and treat political content based on what people have told us they wanted," an Instagram spokesperson told FOX TV Stations. "And now, people are going to be able to control whether they would like to have these types of posts recommended to them." 

How to change Instagram political settings

To start seeing politics again on Instagram, open up the app on your smartphone. Then tap the three-dash menu at the top right.

Go to "settings and privacy," then choose "content preferences." From there, open the "Political content" menu, then find and turn on the "Don’t limit" option.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.