Instagram is announcing two new features to help combat COVID-19 misinformation: users in areas with surging cases will see a link to their local health authority at the top of their feed and anyone searching for vaccine information will also be directed to credible health sources.
These measures will be taken in addition to the social network blocking hashtags that contain vaccine misinformation, which also got a mention in announcement tweets. The features come as many platform companies take steps to keep coronavirus misinformation from spreading at a vital time for the US, as health institutions struggle with record hospitalizations and the first of the approved COVID-19 vaccines start to roll out.
Second, in addition to removing widely debunked claims about the COVID-19 vaccines, when people search for terms related to vaccines or COVID-19, we’ll direct them to information from credible health authorities. pic.twitter.com/J5AUx3pJ4w
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) December 17, 2020
Facebook, Instagram’s parent company (for now) has rolled out it’s own misinformation-combatting feature, sending users notifications if they’ve interacted with posts that contain it. YouTube has started adding cards below videos about the pandemic, linking to sources like the CDC and WHO, the same organizations that Instagram uses as examples. Twitter has also just recently announced that it will be removing misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.