Helping Creators Find New Audiences

April 30, 2024

Historically because of how we’ve ranked content, creators with large followings and aggregators of reposted content have gotten more reach in recommendations than smaller, original content creators. We think it’s important to correct this to give all creators a more equal chance of breaking through to new audiences.

To do this, we’re introducing four changes:

  • A new input to ranking that will give smaller creators more distribution.
  • Replacing reposts with original content in recommendations.
  • Adding labels to reposted content, linking to the original creator.
  • Removing content aggregators from recommendations.

More Chances to Break Through

Previously, in surfaces with recommended content, reels were ranked primarily based on how an account’s followers engaged with them. This meant that accounts with the largest followings often saw the most reach.

We have been working on a new way to rank recommendations to give all creators an equal chance of breaking through. Through this process, every piece of eligible content (e.g., content that is original, does not violate our community guidelines, has no visible watermarks and satisfies our recommendation guidelines) is shown to a small audience that we think will enjoy it, regardless of whether they follow the account that posted it or not. As this audience engages with the content, the top performing set of reels are shown to a slightly wider audience, then the best of these are shown to an even wider group, and so on. We’ll roll this out over the coming months.

Rewarding Original Content

It takes a lot of time and effort to create original content, so those who create it should get credit and distribution even when it is reposted by other accounts. We’re announcing two updates to help with this.

First, when we find two or more identical pieces of content on Instagram, we will only recommend the original one. This means that the original content will directly replace the reposted content in recommendations. We will only take this approach when the original content is relatively new, and we are confident that content is a match based on audio and visual signals. We won’t replace content if it has been changed in a significant way, for instance if it’s materially edited to become a meme, a parody compilation, narrated with a new voiceover or remixed to express a reaction.This replacement only applies in places where we recommend content - such as explore, reels and in-feed recommendations. When content is replaced, we will notify the original creator.

Second, if we find a piece of reposted content, we will add a label linking to the original creator, which will remain visible to all viewers. For now, if either the original creator or the account reposting content want to remove a label, they can tap the three dots menu on a piece of content.

Removing Aggregators from Recommendations

As part of our efforts to reward original content, we want to further discourage content aggregators by making them ineligible for recommendations across Instagram. In the coming months, accounts that repeatedly (10 or more times in the last 30 days) post content from other Instagram users that they didn’t create or enhance in a material way will not be shown in surfaces where we recommend content. These accounts can become eligible for recommendations again after 30 days have passed since the last time they posted unoriginal content; this can be checked by using account status where they will also have the option to appeal. This will not impact a set of publishers we’ve identified who have licensing agreements and/or explicit permissions from content creators.

This also does not impact how we show people content from aggregator accounts they follow andthese changes are separate from our intellectual property policies, which do not allow for posting of content that violates another user’s intellectual property rights.

Understanding Recommendations Guidelines and Eligibility

In addition to these updates, below is a short refresher on other factors that determine whether content can be recommended or not.

Many surfaces across Instagram use recommendations to help people discover new content, giving creators ways to get discovered by people who don’t follow them. While some content may not violate our community guidelines, it may be perceived as sensitive, inappropriate, or offensive. People from all over the world use Instagram, including people as young as 13, so we need to be mindful of what content we surface in places such as explore and the reels tab. That’s why, in addition to our community guidelines, we have recommendations guidelines that are designed to maintain a high standard for recommended content.

Specific categories of content are allowed on our platform, but may not be eligible for recommendations, including:

  • Content that impedes our ability to foster safe community, such as:
    • Content that discusses self-harm, suicide, or eating disorders, or trivializes themes around death or depression.
    • Content that may depict violence, such as people fighting.
    • Content that may be sexually suggestive, such as pictures of people in see-through or revealing clothing.
    • Content that promotes the use of certain regulated products, such as tobacco or vaping products, adult products and services, or pharmaceuticals.
  • Sensitive or low-quality content about health or finance, such as:
    • Content that promotes or depicts cosmetic procedures.
    • Content containing exaggerated health claims or attempting to sell products or services. based on these claims, such as “miracle cures.”
    • Content that promotes misleading or deceptive business models, such as payday loans.
  • Political content, potentially related to thinks like laws, elections, or social topics.
  • Content that users broadly tell us they dislike, such as clickbait or engagement bait.
  • Content that is associated with low-quality publishing, such as unoriginal content that is largely repurposed from another source without adding material value.
  • False of misleading content, such as:
    • Content including claims that have been found false by independent fact-checkers, including vaccine-related misinformation.
    • Content that promotes the use of fraudulent documents, such as someone sharing a post about using a fake ID.

If a post violates these guidelines, we try to avoid showing it where we recommend content. If an account repeatedly posts content that violates our guidelines, the account may be ineligible for recommendation for a period of time. As mentioned above, creators can use account status to understand what content may be ineligible for recommendations, delete content affecting their account and appeal the decision if they think we made a mistake.

Our guidelines are designed to ensure people’s preferences are respected. We provide people control over how much or how little of some categories of content they see in recommendations using the sensitive content control or political content control.

We think these changes will help Instagram be a place where all creators have an equal chance of breaking through and expect creators will experience the benefits of these changes in the coming months.

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