After various users complained that their Instagram posts were being restricted due to usage of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, Instagram has issued an explanation, saying that the posts are indeed being limited, but not because of any intentional action by the platform to limit the discussion.
2/ Given the increase in content shared to #blacklivesmatter, this technology is incorrectly coming into effect. We are resolving this issue as quickly as we can, and investigating a separate issue uploading Stories.— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) June 1, 2020
As explained by Instagram, the massive increase in usage of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag has resulted in its systems incorrectly assessing the influx as spam. Instagram is working to resolve the situation to ensure users can continue to engage in the discussion via their posts.
3/ We want to be clear that using #blacklivesmatter is supported and celebrated on Instagram, and we are moving quickly to ensure voices using this hashtag are heard.— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) June 1, 2020
TikTok also faced challenges processing a similar influx in discussion around the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag last week, which prompted some users to suggest that TikTok was looking to censor the discussion from the platform.
Refinery28 reached out to TikTok for an explanation, and were told that it was a “pre-upload issue".
We hear you & apologize for the confusion & hurt brought by yesterday's bug in Compose that made it seem like hashtags had 0 views. We know this came at a painful time for the Black community. We stand with you & are committed to providing a platform where all are seen and heard. https://t.co/RzGCZwb5cG— TikTok (@tiktok_us) May 30, 2020
Both Instagram and TikTok have separately shared their support for the protest action calling for systemic change to address racial injustice in the US. Instagram's parent company Facebook has also pledged $10 million in funding for programs focused on overcoming racial injustice - though Facebook is also facing an internal walk-out due to dissatisfaction among employees as to how the platform has addressed elements of the surrounding debate.
But in terms of perceived censorship, both platforms have said that this is absolutely not the case - in both cases, these are system issues which they are working to resolve in order to facilitate the ongoing discussion.
So, if your posts are limited, or you're hearing similar reports, this is why.