Instagram takes action to combat false coronavirus information

Instagram has introduced a number of measures its putting into effect in response to the novel coronavirus. The company has begun sending out prompts to users giving them the ability to read about updates on COVID-19, new precautions being implemented, and more. It’s also removing COVID-19 accounts from account recommendations in addition to coronavirus content from Explore.

This is all in an effort to minimize the spread of false information relating to COVID-19. For instance, if you search for something similar to “coronavirus” in Instagram, the company will tell you that it’s a good idea to get your information directly through the World Health Organization. New Stickers in Stories will also be introduced to encourage people to wash their hands, keep their distance from others, and more.

“This is in addition to our existing policies on misinformation,” the company said in a blog post. “If posts are rated false by third-party-fact checkers, we remove them from Explore and hashtag pages. We also remove false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities as having the potential to cause harm to people who believe them.

“To prevent people from exploiting this public health emergency we’ve already put several new policies into effect. We prohibited misleading ads for products that refer to COVID-19 in ways intended to create urgency, guarantee cures or prevent people from contracting it, and we have temporarily banned advertisements and branded content that promote certain medical supplies, including face masks. In addition, we removed the ability to search for COVID-19 related AR effects unless they were developed in partnership with a recognized health organization.”

Instagram has also added a donation sticker to Stories to give people an easy way to donate to coronavirus-related causes. Rounding things off, there’s a new Co-Watching feature that lets you browse Instagram with friends over video chat.

All of these efforts will be rolling out to users immediately.