Stand up for the facts!
Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- This isn’t true.
"This is a test," begins a message appearing in social media feeds. "Instagram has been limiting our posts so that no more than 7% of our friends see our posts."
It goes on to explain that if you see the post, comment on it, and like it, the poster’s ranking will improve and more friends will be able to see it.
But this rumor is an old one, and it’s not true.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Instagram addressed an identical message back in January 2019.
"We’ve noticed an uptick in posts about Instagram limiting the reach of your photos to 7% of your followers, and would love to clear this up," Instagram tweeted. "What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, and how many people you follow, etc."
Instagram hadn’t made any recent changes to feed ranking, the platform said, and would "never hide posts from people you’re following — if you keep scrolling, you will see them all."
At the time, BuzzFeed News published a story with this headline: "Relax, Instagram is not limiting your favorite account’s reach to 7% of its followers."
But here we are again.
Has anything changed? No, Instagram told PolitiFact on Feb. 2. The information it tweeted in 2019 is still current.
After we published this fact-check, we heard from some readers who argued that we were wrong because Instagram limits the reach of posts that include false information.
When third-party fact-checkers, such as PolitiFact, identify misinformation, Instagram may make it harder to find by filtering it from its "Explore" and hashtag search pages, as well as reducing its visibility in feeds and stories, according to Facebook, which owns Instagram. But this is a different issue than the claim that Instagram is limiting people’s posts so that no more than 7% of their friends will see it.
"The 7% figure is inaccurate," a spokesperson for the platform said. And commenting or liking posts sharing this meme, or posts that have been fact-checked, does not affect how many followers will see it.
We rate this claim False.
Instagram post, March 1, 2021
Instagram tweet, Jan. 22, 2019
BuzzFeed News, Relax, Instagram is not limiting your favorite account’s reach to 7% of its followers, Jan. 22, 2019
Facebook post, Reducing the spread of false information on Instagram, visited March 3, 2021
Email interview with Raki Wane, policy communications manager, Instagram, Feb. 2, 2021, Feb. 3, 2021
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.