In The Shadows


Users in the shooting sports community have long speculated their Instagram accounts were being shadowbanned, citing sudden drops in reach, engagement, video views and new followers. A shadowban refers to the act of hiding or restricting a user’s content without informing the user it’s happening by excluding their content from anyone’s feed, Explore or hashtag pages unless they already follow the account. But, if you were to ask an employee of Meta, Instagram’s parent company, the official company stance is that they don’t “shadowban” users. It’s only because they call it “limiting reach” instead.

Last month, we discovered Instagram is no longer operating in the shadows. I logged into the GUNS Magazine Instagram account to find a notification informing us our account can “no longer be shown to non-followers” even though our posts didn’t violate the platform’s community guidelines. What our posts do violate is their “recommendations guidelines” — a loophole they created to justify their longtime practice of limiting reach.

“If you were to ask an employee of Meta, the official company stance is that they don’t ‘shadowban’ users. It’s only because they call it ‘limiting reach’ instead.”

So, if you’ve noticed we’ve been less active on Instagram, now you know why. We haven’t received the notification on our American Handgunner, American COP or Shooting Industry accounts, but we know it’s only a matter of time.

On the bright side, YouTube made an update to its monetization policy that was actually in the firearms community’s favor by adding an “ad suitability” category acknowledging the acceptable use of guns in a safe environment. Who thought they’d ever see the day when one of the big tech companies acknowledged such a thing is possible?!

And speaking of YouTube, I’m happy to share the @FMGPubs account has surpassed 75,000 subscribers — a more than 25% growth in 15 months. Apparently, the algorithm likes that our team has been spending a little more time creating “Shorts” content. Needless to say, it’s a great time to take advantage of our sponsored video offerings. For more information, contact your ad rep today!

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