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Frustration, confusion as Black Lives Matter hashtags get drowned out by Black Out Tuesday

Thanks to a combination of tech glitches and competing initiatives with good intentions, lots of #BlackLivesMatter posts got lost today.

Frustration, confusion as Black Lives Matter hashtags get drowned out by Black Out Tuesday
[Photo: rawpixel]

An increase in usage of the #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM hashtags is causing more chaos on social media.

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#MyInstagram is trending, and it’s because there’s a lot of confusion surrounding #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM due to the hashtags being shadow banned by social media platforms in some instances, and also because people are posting black tiles using #BlackOutTuesday in combination with the Black Lives Matter hashtags as well. The result is one big clusterfuck of counterproductivity—because miscommunication is what social media does.

Here’s how to make sense of everything.

The first level to this is that people called out Instagram for shadow banning the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. Many users were reporting that they were getting an “action blocked” message in the app after trying to share posts using the tag.

Instagram is blaming anti-spam software for the error and tweeted a statement explaining the mistake.

“We have technology that detects rapidly increasing activity on Instagram to help combat spam. Given the increase in content shared to #blacklivesmatter, this technology is incorrectly coming into effect,” Instagram’s tweet read. “We are resolving this issue as quickly as we can, and investigating a separate issue uploading stories.”

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TikTok has also been accused of censoring the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. Users reported that they were seeing 0 views whenever they used that or #GeorgeFloyd. TikTok’s U.S. general manager, Vanessa Pappas, and Judzi Chikumbu, director of the creator community, wrote a joint blog post apologizing for the mishap, claiming that a technical glitch was to blame and that these hashtags actually had over 2 billion views.

The next bout of hashtag-related pandemonium is related to #BlackOutTuesday, which was created with good intentions. It’s a music industry initiative (that some people are using along with #TheShowMustBePaused), where people are encouraged to post black tiles on their Instagram pages and to cease social media activity in solidarity with people who are protesting police brutality. Celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, and Drake posted blank tiles to their accounts, as have thousands of other people. But many of these people are also using #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM in conjunction with #BlackOutTuesday, and it’s overwhelming the latter two hashtags, which is preventing useful information from being seen.

Lil Nas X is one of many people calling this out:

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The point is, if you are participating in #BlackOutTuesday then do not combine it with #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM.

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