Instagram won’t fund influencers who talk about politics or social issues

Instagram is paying IGTV content creators for their work unless they post about politics or social issues.
Image: Instagram

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Instagram is paying influencers top dollar to produce video content for IGTV. However, the platform has specific rules about the kind of content it wants. Specifically, the social media company has refused to fund the production of clips focused on controversial topics like politics or social issues.

IGTV Sponsored Content Rules

Instagram’s pitch to creators is that the company will pay for their production costs if they make videos for the platform. Bloomberg explained that the platform provides video producers a flat fee to create a certain number of clips. The firm reportedly paid one influencer $250,000 to make a minimum of 20 posts.

While IGTV hosts a diverse array of content, the company has strict rules about the material it’s willing to sponsor. The social network’s video production contracts forbid product giveaways, the promotion of other competing platforms, and clips paid for by a third party.

Furthermore, IGTV won’t reimburse the production costs for videos dealing with “social issues, elections, or politics.”

When questioned about IGTV’s unique content guidelines, a Facebook spokesperson offered an odd explanation. “We believe there’s a fundamental difference between allowing political and issue-based content on our platform and funding it ourselves.”

Notably, the world’s largest social network apparently maintains different paid content policies for itself and its subsidiary. Facebook, via its Facebook Watch product, does pay creators to make videos that cover hot button topics like politics.

Why Instagram is Paying Influencers to Make Content

In 2018, Instagram unveiled a new product called IGTV. The firm intended for the service to act as a competitor to YouTube. Indeed, it promoted the spin-off with featured content from influencers like Lele Pons and brands like National Geographic. However, the service hasn’t achieved the kind of popularity needed to make it a real YouTube rival.

Admittedly, Instagram didn’t exactly set its video segment up for success. One problem is that the platform only allows users to upload videos that have been filmed vertically. As such, content creators can’t simply repurpose their IGTV clips for other distribution channels.

Another issue is that IGTV’s indexing isn’t the best. The platform allows users to search for channels, but not individual clips. Moreover, the service doesn’t give subscribers the ability to browse for content by genre or topic.

Former Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said the company made IGTV that way to make its content discovery mimic television channel flipping. However, the firm overestimated the appeal of the platform’s throwback functionality to its Generation Z audience.

Lastly, IGTV lacks the monetization tools that have made YouTube a hub for content makers across the globe. Consequently, many popular influencers haven’t felt the need to dedicate time and energy to the service. Indeed, celebrities like Kevin Hart and Ninja have millions of followers on Instagram but have only published a handful of IGTV videos.

To address the problem, the social network further integrated IGTV with its parent app to foster increased user crossover. Instagram’s video production financing deals are just another element of its promotional campaign.