Women are listing their gender as “male” on Instagram to defraud a potential sexist algorithm change that took place earlier this year. Earlier in April, however, Instagram’s algorithm changed to reduce certain posts, even though they didn’t technically violate the platform’s own rules, HuffPost reported. “We have begun to reduce the spread of inappropriate posts but are not going against Instagram’s community guidelines, restricting such posts from being recommended on our Explore and Hashtag pages, they wrote in a statement.
The change was part of an update that Facebook announced in an effort to keep people safe and maintain the integrity of information flowing through the Facebook family of apps. So far it doesn’t sound too bad. However, many people believe that this decline in availability is affecting marginalized populations. “For example, if you follow a sex poster account, the sex advisory will appear in the post feed, but this type of content may not appear in the Explorer or Hashtag pages for a wider community”.
Last month Salty – an online platform for women, Trans men and non-binary people – conducted a survey that found that LGBTQIA + often deleted their accounts, flagged their content unnecessarily, or disabled their accounts for violating community guidelines without any details reported. Believing that she is being shaded (reducing the amount of his posts without any news on Instagram) he decided to test his gender on the platform by converting it to “male”, as others said it would increase engagement. People seem to believe that content is more likely to be flagged as contrary to community guidelines – as stated in the Salt report – if they are not listed as male. An Instagram user – an Australian pole dancing performer and teacher who relies on finding new students on social media – noticed that his own engagement on the platform had been declining for months, HuffPost reported.
“I’ve changed my mind recently and I’ve noticed more engagement, one user wrote, another said: “Just changed my gender and voila – no movies!” Within days of the online gender reassignment, she noticed that her engagement level had returned to normal. Other users, in response to campaign group Albury Visible, reported that their engagement levels returned after the change was made. While others have not noticed the impact, it still persists that women feel they need to change their gender online to address potential inequalities on online platforms.