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Instagram urges users to reconsider following Tucker Carlson in 'insane warning'

Instagram urges users to reconsider following Tucker Carlson in 'insane warning'

Instagram apparently doesn't want users following Tucker Carlson — but hasn't indicated precisely why.

Tucker Carlson has over 3.7 million followers on Instagram. On X, he has nearly 13 million followers. While his following on X is likely far more significant because it is the ostensibly less censorious platform where Carlson routinely uploads episodes of his new show, there may be another reason to account for the delta.

Ashton DeGroot, Blaze Media's social media content coordinator, observed Monday that following Carlson is no easy feat on the Meta platform.

A perfunctory search for Carlson failed to turn up his verified account. Instead, impersonators and fan accounts flooded the results. After multiple tries, it appeared clear that Carlson's verified account would only appear if his exact handle, @TuckerCarlson, was entered into the search bar.

Upon finding Carlson's account, DeGroot found that Instagram put up one last barrier to engagement, imploring prospective followers to reconsider.

The pop-up reads, "Are you sure you want to follow tuckercarlson?"

"This account has repeatedly posted false information that was reviewed by independent fact-checkers or it went against our Community Guidelines," added the pop-up.

Blaze News did not encounter similar warning messages when test-following the accounts of various liberal personalities and publications, which have been outed peddling falsehoods and manufactured narratives.

'Luckily, people are on to this.'

The question is not, for instance, posed to potential followers of Newsweek, despite its loose relationship with the truth. Just last month, Newsweek falsely reported that Tucker Carlson had partnered with a Russian state-owned news channel, when in fact the outlet had effectively appropriated footage of Carlson's without legal permission.

Users will not similarly encounter this warning when attempting to follow Jussie Smollett, who lied incessantly about being attacked by Trump supporters in Chicago when in fact he had paid two Nigerian-born brothers to stage a fake hate crime.

"I have never seen this warning before on any account," DeGroot told Blaze News. "I was following a lot of people for [a Blaze Media account], and out of the 100+ that I followed, Tucker was the only one for whom this came up."

Screenshots taken 6/24/2024.

When asked for comment about Instagram's apparent suppression effort, Neil Patel, co-founder and CEO of the Tucker Carlson Network, told Blaze News, "Tucker has one of the largest audiences in all of media. Millions of people rely on him because they know he's trying his best to tell the truth."

"This combination of scale and independence is a serious threat to established power," continued Patel. "That is the only reason why people can't even go to a Tucker Carlson birthday post on Instagram without some insane warning."

"Luckily, people are on to this," Patel added, noting that they've elected to sidestep "big tech censors" like Instagram altogether and go straight to Tucker Carlson's website.

DeGroot similarly suspects that Instagram's efforts to dissuade people from hearing Carlson out will strike a contrarian nerve in people already familiar with him. However, "for someone who is on the fence, this could be an effective tool to keep them away."

'Today it's Tucker; tomorrow it's Blaze Media.'

"Ultimately, this is a manifestation of what Glenn [Beck] has been saying for years: The left will push conservative voices out of the public square and into the digital ghetto," continued DeGroot. "We are seeing that now with this. You will not stumble upon Tucker's content, and one day you will not stumble upon Blaze Media's content because it goes against the approved narrative and it makes the lives of those in power harder when more people hear our side."

"As a someone who works in social media and has seen the weekly, sometimes daily, changes that have taken place within Meta as we have gotten closer to the election, I feel confident in saying that this is just the beginning of the silencing of conservative voices," said DeGroot. "Today it's Tucker; tomorrow it's Blaze Media. This is why we implore the listener to become a subscriber. When you subscribe, you have direct access to the content. There is no middle man getting in the way — for now, that is.

Blaze News initially requested comment from Facebook on specifics related to the alleged false information Carlson shared or the guidelines he allegedly violated warranting the pop-up warning on his account. Blaze also asked about the efficacy of such suppression attempts but did not receive a reply by deadline.

A Meta spokesman did, however, later inform Blaze News, "This was an error that has since been corrected."

This is hardly the first time Instagram or its parent company has erroneously labeled Carlson a peddler of falsehoods.

When still at Fox News in 2020, Carlson interviewed Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan, who suggested that COVID-19 "is not from nature." While the federal government has since acknowledged the strong likelihood that the virus was made in a lab, specifically the Wuhan lab where researchers took ill in late 2019 while conducting dangerous experiments on coronaviruses, Instagram rushed to label Carlson's interview "False Information" on its platform.

Editor's note: Meta informed Blaze News that it made corrective changes in the aftermath of this report. The article has been updated to incorporate comment from a company spokesman.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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