Women are pretending to be men on Instagram to circumvent algorithmic blocking

Gender deception is widespread in social media. Instagram has been hiding photos and videos that it considers to be vaguely “inappropriate” without explaining what specific kind of content that includes or alerting affected users. Such posts are algorithmically blocked from being featured in the Facebook-owned website’s public Explore and hashtag pages, which help grow people’s accounts by giving them broader exposure. This kind of covert censorship, known as “shadow banning,” has disproportionately affected women and members of marginalized communities, including those whose livelihoods depend on Instagram — leaving many urgently seeking ways to restore their visibility on the platform. Instagram initially denied it. But, what does research tell us? Guess Who?

Research suggests that females tend to have a higher success rate in detecting gender deception, and males tend to have higher self-efficacy beliefs in gender deception. The gender of the message recipient could be a significant factor in uncovering gender deception (Ho, 2017).

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