Instagram would start hiding search results for hashtags that constantly return wrong or fake information about vaccines. The company stated that from 9th May onwards, they would completely start blocking access to hashtags that send back misinformation devised to deter people from getting vaccinated. This announcement was made by Instagram at a press conference in San Francisco on Thursday.
The company stated that when a hashtag expected to send back misinformation is blocked, search results won’t any more appear when the hashtag is clicked, and the terms are even blocked from being even searched on Instagram.
Karina Newton, Instagram’s global head of public policy stated that in case the hashtag was #vaccines1234, and if it consisted of a high scale of known vaccine misinformation, Instagram would block that hashtag totally. As per the company source, “Known vaccine misinformation” indicates to false information that has been confirmed as false by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and similar organizations. Other posts that conveys anti-vaccine views but have not been accepted as false could be allowed to remain.
The news comes as Facebook has been under immense pressure to get rid of anti-vaccine propaganda from its network of sites, where its suggested algorithms have helped to create large audiences for hoaxes.
Instagram would be inspecting posts that are being removed under misinformation policies and use machine learning to comprehend which hashtags they are associated with. If a hashtag has a “high volume” of misinformation, it would be blocked. The company also plans to start a pop-up message for people who are looking for vaccine information and connect with high-quality information on the matter. This matter is going to be finalized soon.
Instagram stated that the work to delete anti-vaccination information from the platform was in its early stages, and that people would probably continue to find anti-vaccination information on the platform for some time.