Instagram and its parent company Facebook are constantly waging a complex battle with bad content on their platforms. But the latest chapter of that fight involves them stepping onto the slippery slope to censorship, worrying artists, people with disabilities, consensual sex workers, and those who are in various ways body- and sex-positive.

As part of a wide-ranging series of updates from Facebook on its content policies, the company said this week that its algorithm would demote content that does not violate Instagram’s community standards, but is considered “inappropriate” or “borderline.”

This means the posts won’t be deleted or banned, but it will be harder to find them in the Explore tab, or through hashtag pages (so if you search for a given hashtag, the borderline content won’t show up or will be buried under all the other posts).

“We’re working to ensure that the content we recommend is both safe and appropriate for our community, and that means we are going to be stricter about what content is recommended to people on Explore and hashtag pages,” an Instagram spokesperson told Quartz. Some of this was foreshadowed by Mark Zuckerberg’s long blog post about content governance in November.

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Instagram will demote “inappropriate content” – and self-expression along the way by Hanna Kozlowska

April 13th, 2019