Jenny Kane, AP photo
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in New York. Instagram announced Thursday that it will now block several anti-vaccine hashtags amid a crackdown on misinformation spreading through the social media platform.

SALT LAKE CITY — Instagram announced Thursday that it will now block several anti-vaccine hashtags amid a crackdown on misinformation spreading through the social media platform, according to multiple reports.

  • The social media platform announced its decision after receiving questions from the media about misinformation spreading across the social network.
  • Facebook promised to crack down on anti-vaccine misinformation content three weeks ago. In fact, Facebook, which owns Instagram, said that it would no longer promote any anti-vaccine posts on Instagram’s search page or the “explore” feature, according to CNN.
  • Both Facebook and Instagram still recommend vaccine misinformation in their search functions, including in groups and hashtags seen on those platforms.
  • An Instagram spokesperson said in a statement that the social media platform is working to curb this issue, The Hill reports.
  • "As part of our work to address health-related misinformation on Instagram, we’re looking at ways to minimize recommendations of this content and accounts that post it across Instagram — including in 'Suggested For You,' Explore and hashtags," an Instagram spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Solutions: The company said a short-term solution — including blocking hashtags with "known health-related misinformation including #vaccinescauseautism, #vaccinesarepoison, and #vaccinescausesids” — is in play. However, those hashtags haven’t been blocked yet, according to The Hill.

  • "We noted that this process would take place over several weeks," an Instagram spokesperson said. "But as we take action in the short-term we know that fighting misinformation is a long-term commitment."

Home for hate: Misinformation is “thriving” on Instagram right now, according to The Atlantic. And it has become somewhat of a “home for hate.”

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  • “Instagram is teeming with these conspiracy theories, viral misinformation, and extremist memes, all daisy-chained together via a network of accounts with incredible algorithmic reach and millions of collective followers,” according to The Atlantic. “These accounts intersperse TikTok videos and nostalgia memes with anti-vaccination rhetoric, conspiracy theories about George Soros and the Clinton family, and jokes about killing women, Jews, Muslims, and liberals.”

As The Verge notes, Instagram has become a major source of reckoning over misinformation as well in recent weeks.