UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 17, 2024

OPINION | Instagram’s political content filter is keeping you out of the know

Instagram added a new feature to their app that automatically turns on political censorship in your feed. Regardless of your agreement or disagreement with a political individual or group, it is important to be informed and hear the different perspectives. Mason Britton | Sun News Daily

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People are entitled to their own opinions, just as much as they are entitled to being in the know about what is going on in the world around them.

The Instagram political filter allows the user to be able to either choose to have more political posts invited onto their feed or to choose to opt out of this content by turning on the “limit” option in the Instagram settings.

If the user does follow certain accounts that aim their content toward politics, those accounts will still be allowed on your feed. This feature will also be included on Facebook at “a later date.”

With the upcoming election, many people agree that taking a step away from politics on Instagram can be healthy, but I would argue differently. It is imperative to form a fair and reasonable choice on who should be the next president to make this country better and safer. So turning the political filter off is in your best interest.

It is cool that people have the opportunity to change their settings to have this content or not, but it’s a good thing that Instagram didn’t just try and take politics out of the app completely. That would have had a very bad backlash simply because social media, Instagram specifically, is a main source of where people get their news and where they are able to make their own choices and thoughts on the world. Social media also has the ability to open people’s minds to other views of things going on in the world and sometimes change their minds.

Having the choice of turning off the political content on your account shows that Instagram is still allowing us many freedoms, but it can be smart to think about turning this feature off and allowing those posts to come through on your feed. Knowing what is going on in the world can be critical to how you think and react to any situation.

If you do choose to turn off the political posts, allow yourself the chance at least once a week to go online or turn on the news to get an idea of what’s going on in the world. Avoiding the world’s problems does nothing to solve anything.

I know that some people have issues with putting the filter on because what the app considers “political” can be controversial, making room for errors or misleading content that the company filters out.

Technology is not always the easiest thing to work with, and there is always room for error. So if people have that much of a problem or hate for political content, that could be a good sign that being on social media is not the best path for them. News, politics, people’s opinions and many more controversial topics are always in the media and have a very high chance of always being on there. It is very hard to escape.

Another downside of individuals leaving this filter on is that people like journalists, accounts that talk about only politics and other profiles like that, won’t get quite the reach as they did before.

The journalism or news world already has struggled with hate and negativity being associated with them, so for Instagram to filter out this content makes that small corner of the world even smaller and have even more hate toward them.

Whether you choose to filter your social media or not, I ask that you find another way to know what is going on in the world. Whether that be by news articles or people in your life, knowing what is going on in the world is important, whether that be because of safety reasons, making your own judgments or even understanding other people’s opinions.

It does make me wonder how many other social media apps are going to follow in Instagram’s footsteps and filter out their content as well. Technology has a long way to go and a lot of changes are going to be done but as far as this change goes, I say leave the filter alone and be in the know about the politics that can change the country. This is just the start.