In times of global emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic, social media networks can often be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they can be used to share credible information, and on the other hand, they can also become a hub for misinformation.
These days, with mainstream outlets having to delete coronavirus-related content that was proven to be false and misleading, getting to the bottom of the truth could be an unwindable fight for social platforms.
And while platforms are toying with the idea of policing which of those sources are true and which aren’t, some are deciding to just remove any talk of the coronavirus from recommendations altogether.
Facebook-owned Instagram now declared that it will remove all content related to coronavirus from the recommendations and “explore” tab.
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The content posted by “credible” sources such as health organizations, however, will remain widely available on the platform.
“We’ll remove COVID-19 accounts from account recommendations, and we are working to remove some COVID-19 related content from Explore, unless posted by a credible health organization. We will also start to downrank content in feed and Stories that has been rated false by third-party-fact checkers,” wrote Instagram.
In a blog post titled “Keeping People Informed, Safe, and Supported on Instagram”, the company addressed a myriad of updates it was introducing on the platform.
Moreover, the social media giant is also including several “donation stickers” that will allow people to donate and support verified non-profit organizations.
Any false claims and “conspiracy theories” that have been flagged by select groups will also be removed from the platform, under the new update.
Furthermore, the company has also tightened its leash around advertising anything related to the coronavirus.
“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.
“People who search for information related to the coronavirus or COVID-19 on Instagram will start to see an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries. We are working quickly to make this available globally over the coming weeks,” wrote Instagram.