A group of Black business owners is calling out Instagram for releasing a feature they say is drastically dropping their social media engagement.
In late June, Instagram announced its plan to “amplify Black-owned businesses” through its new “Black-owned” label feature. The feature works to make it easier for people to discover Black-owned businesses directly on Instagram.
“In the last year, the Instagram community has come together in support of Black-owned businesses, and businesses have found creative ways to be discovered,” the company said in a statement.
“Last summer through fall, there were over 1.3 million Instagram posts in support of “Black-owned” or “Black-led” businesses. And the number of businesses located in the US with “Black-owned” or “Black-led” in their profile increased over 50%.”
Black business owners were now able to edit their profiles to enable a “Black-owned” label on their business profile and product pages.
But one month later, a number of Black business owners are expressing their concerns against the new feature over claims it caused a drastic drop in follower engagement.
On July 31, beauty mogul and social media influencer Supa Cent retweeted a fellow Black business owner who agreed with her gripes against the “Black-owned” label feature.
“@WuzzamSupa you were RIGHT! I tested the “Black Owned” on INSTAGRAM my engagement decreased by 50%,” the company Koils By Nature said in a tweet.
— Koils By Nature (@KoilsByNature) July 31, 2021
The message included screenshots showing a more than 50% drop in the company’s Instagram engagement in the month since adding the feature.
The company’s owner, Pamela J. Booker, also took to Instagram to blast the company and urge fellow Black business owners to avoid adding the label to their profiles.
“PLEASE REMOVE the BLACK OWNED from your IG PROFILE,!” Booker said. “I tested for 30 days! My social media manager did not change how she posted and look at this sh*t. NUMBERS DONT LIE!”
Others left comments sharing their experience with the feature. Some claimed their engagement increased while others say they saw the same drop.
“Yes….we noticed this too,” said Coco Mom Life. “We tried to do it so we were easier to find, but it just makes it easier to isolate our profiles. So we switched up a few things.”
Hopefully, Instagram is paying attention to the feedback and working towards a solution.