Instagram will roll out new ways to prevent the spread of misinformation about vaccines, including a pop-up warning that appears when you search certain anti-vax terms. The feature is still in development, and Instagram’s safety team was not able to share a launch date.
Currently, Instagram displays a pop-up alert when people search for hashtags or terms related to self-harm or suicide. That pop-up shows a message with a warning and a link to support resources. It’s not clear yet what the pop-up for anti-vax misinformation will say or what outside resources it might point to.
A flurry of measles outbreaks across the country has raised concerns about vaccine misinformation, particularly online. This February, YouTube cracked down and demonetized anti-vax videos. Shortly after, Amazon removed anti-vax documentaries from its Prime Video streaming app. Last month, Facebook said it would bar anti-vax groups and pages from advertising and ad-targeting topics like “vaccine controversy.” The changes at Facebook extended to Instagram, which is currently blocking certain hashtags associated with misinformation, like #vaccinescauseaids.
Instagram doesn’t plan to ban accounts or erase posts that discuss vaccines or anti-vax ideas. The plan is to limit the intentional spread of misinformation while highlighting accurate vaccine information.