Instagram hasn’t been completely successful in combatting misinformation. While the app has tried to crack down on influencers promoting dubious diet products and anti-vax messages, posts still slip through the cracks. But the app is still taking steps to make sure users get accurate information about covid-19, such as including approved sources in recommendations and search results.
Instagram announced on Tuesday that the app would be rolling out a series of initiatives to combat misinformation about covid-19, including putting more more “educational resources” in Instagram search like the accounts of WHO and UNICEF. The app is removing content from Explore related to covid-19 that isn’t posted by a health organization and will downrank content in the feed that’s failed the fact-checking process of their third-party fact-checkers. Branded content that promotes medical supplies like masks or fake products that promise cures for covid-19 will also be prohibited.
In the past week or so Instagram has added a “Stay Home” story in the story feed that collects posts centering social distancing from people you follow. There will also be a notice at the top of your feed if you’re in a country affected by covid-19 and new stickers to share in Instagram stories that “include reminders to wash your hands, distance yourself from others, and more.”
It’s a small, needed step for Instagram, but considering how conspiracy theorists and influencers have swerved around similar measures in the past it may not be enough to totally crack down on false covid-19 information.