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.”1 comment on this story
- “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.