Instagram has announced two new features to help curb the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and ensure that people get to read about COVID-19 from credible sources on the platform. The new features will help people stay up-to-date and get information from credible sources directly on Instagram, it said in a tweet.
The first feature will appear in places where the COVID-19 cases are surging. Instagram has launched a prompt, which will appear at the op of the user’s Instagram Feed, connecting them to health authorities such as the CDC, WHO or their local counterparts.
“Second, in addition to removing widely debunked claims about the COVID-19 vaccines, when people search for terms related to vaccines or COVID-19, we’ll direct them to information from credible health authorities,” tweeted Instagram.
Prior to this, the social network announced it will hide search results for hashtags that repeatedly return false information about vaccines. Given a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, social media platforms have become an easy target to spread misinformation related to the pandemic. Therefore, the platforms are under immense pressure to minimise or remove such posts.
Facebook updates ad policy to fight COVID-19 misinformation
Instagram’s parent company Facebook recently rolled out a number of changes that will ensure people have access to credible information across its products including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook said it will remove harmful content to make sure accurate information is being carried on its platforms. The goal is to combat COVID-19 misinformation across its apps.
Facebook has also updated its ad policy for COVID-19 vaccines. “We will now allow ads that highlight the ability of a COVID-19 vaccine to prevent someone from contracting the virus, as well as ads promoting ways to safely access a COVID-19 vaccine,” Facebook said in a blog post.
In addition, Facebook will also prohibit ads that promote the sale of COVID-19 vaccine or expedited access to the vaccine. Also, ads that claim the vaccine is a cure for the virus will be rejected as well. Facebook claims it has invested heavily in the news industry and supporting fact-checkers for banning ads for medical face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits.