Instagram’s new tool to prevent misinformation is not as good as we expected

Nowadays, social networks have become a source for all sorts of tasks. People use the platforms to purchase a variety of products or service while some rely more on these platforms for news as well.

Over the past years, Facebook and Twitter have faced a lot of criticism due to the spread of fake news; Instagram doesn’t stay behind too.

Facebook introduced new policies and tools to prevent misinformation from spreading on the platform and meanwhile Instagram became a new source of misinformation. Instagram was spotted as the largest platform with misinformation when the issue highlighted showed multiple fake accounts spreading fake news and pretending to members of activist groups. Researchers found that Instagram posts by trolls engaged twice more users on Instagram as compared to Facebook or Twitter.

New tool Introduced by Facebook

Although Instagram and Facebook try out various strategies to detect the fake accounts and to eliminate it as well but Instagram remains as the highest source for the spread of false news.

In 2016, Facebook launched a new fact-checking tool that was praised as a powerful feature against false news. Last week, Facebook announced that it will be expanding its fact-checking policy to Instagram as well but this new announcement has researchers worried about the limited impact of this tool on Instagram.

Workings of this new tool

With the launch of a new tool last week, Instagram is expecting to speed it up for the removal of false information from the platform.

If any post spreads any sort of misinformation, users can report it as “false information”. Now, this report doesn’t mean that the post will be checked by Fact-checker on the instant. When a user reports a post as fake, it will be taken under consideration to whether forward it for fact-check review or not. The algorithms by Facebook will determine whether the post has any false information and if it does only then it will be forwarded to the fact-checkers.

The content displayed as false by fact-checkers will be removed from the hashtag search and Explore features as well but users who follow that account can still see the content as a normal post in the feed.

It’s clearly not visible how much of an effect it put on the platform towards removing false information but the limitations have people worried.

Response from Instagram

Instagram declined to state any information regarding the type of content that is considered by fact-checker or removed from the hashtag search and Explore page due to the false information. There is an ongoing debate among researchers that the social media platforms put the burden on users and can clearly turn a blind eye to content that might be considered as extremist content if a user fails to report it.

Instagram shares its policies with the parent company Facebook to adapt best to the programs like fact-checkers according to the specific needs of its platform. Instagram is one of the biggest source of false news but it isn’t alone to look for ways to understand how political false information spreads on its platform and how to prevent it to happen again.

There isn’t much evidence related the spread of misinformation on Instagram. As compared to Facebook or Twitter, Instagram enables researchers with a very limited internal data.

Bottom Line

Users rely more on social media platforms for the majority of information. The spread of false news affects majorly the youth as they think of these social platforms as a prime source of information. We are looking forward to more strong attempts by Instagram to makes its reputation as a platform free from fake news strong again.

Photo: Shutterstock

Hat Tip: Washingtonpost.

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