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16 Oct 2023

The New Arab

Alleged 'shadow banning' of Palestinian supporters on Instagram & TikTok

"Palestine supporters say they're being 'shadow banned' on Instagram, TikTok", 16 October 2023

Pro-Palestinian users of social media sites have alleged that they have been "shadow banned" by the platforms for the nature of their content, amid Israel's onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

Users of the platforms including Instagram and TikTok say they have fallen victim to the process of "shadow banning", in which a platform limits the visibility of a user's posts without notifying them.

With pro-Israel bias purportedly pervading in Western media, Palestinians and their supporters have spoken of how vital social media has been in transmitting news from the Gaza Strip, which is currently being pounded by Israeli bombardment and subjected to a total siege by Tel Aviv.

But Instagram users have shared screenshots of low view counts for their posts on the app's Stories feature, alleging that the dip in viewers of their content is down to shadow bans enforced because of pro-Palestine content. Meanwhile, creators on TikTok have alleged that videos containing content supportive of Palestine has been taken down.

Instagram users have taken to "tricking the algorithm" by posting content unrelated to the ongoing war on their Stories, to draw views back to their content. Some accounts have posted advice on how to circumvent the "ban".

Allegations of shadow-banning come after Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said it was taking "specific steps" to monitor its content amid the war.

TikTok told The Washington Post that Hamas is banned from its platform.

'X', formerly known as Twitter, said last week that it had taken down hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts.