Is Instagram’s Fact Checking Tool Solving the Issue of Misinformation?

Facebook has recently introduced a fact-checking feature to let the Instagram users report the fake news with the help of their fact-checking partners. The social media platform is willing to curb the problem of misinformation on the Instagram.

Facebook is taking this action to reduce the reach of the false information on its social media apps including the Instagram. Facebook is also willing to block the posts and hashtags that are spreading anti-vaccine misinformation. In addition, Facebook has also tightened its political advertising rules just before the US presidential election.

Facebook has more than 50 independent fact-checkers in over 30 countries to cater to the spread of false information.

The flagging feature on Instagram was launched in August, which is now globally available. One can easily report the false content on the Instagram by tapping on the three dots appearing at the top right-hand corner then selecting “report”, “it’s inappropriate”, and “false information”.

Fact-checkers are provided a list of flagged posts by Facebook for validation purpose. Often, fact-checkers review the posts based on their own choice as well. Fact-checkers use a rating system to check the content of the flagged post and then rate it as false or true.

The normal procedure that Facebook uses to treat these flagged posts is by making the false headlines or claims appear less on the user’s news feeds. Those pages or accounts that are continuously involved in sharing false content will be notified and they will face restrictions by Facebook. In addition, they will also face restrictions to make money from such false advertisements.

Instagram also uses the same procedure where the fact-checkers downgrade the explore pages and hashtag searches of the fake information. However, the difference between Instagram and Facebook fact-checking is that the user posting the fake information will not be notified.

Two fact-checking partners spoke with the BBC New suggesting that the new feature has increased the volume of work and there is more ambiguity to identify the misinformation that is being spread on Instagram.

Mr. Sharockman on the Instagram hoax claiming restaurant chains supporting President Trumps’ 2020 election also reported that fact-checkers are having trouble in identifying what constitutes a misinformation. As keyword search is difficult on Instagram, therefore, this issues can further affect the spread of fake news on the Instagram.

The Chief Executive of Full Face, Will Moy, have also suggested that Facebook must share more data with the fact-checkers to make their work more transparent. Mr. Moy have shown concern regarding educating people about the false information on the Internet including those of toxins in food items, vaccination or 5G technology.

Such fake news are prevalent on the Instagram, which is of great concern as it has the capability of putting users’ life in danger.

Instagram is one of the leading platforms with more user engagement, therefore, operations involving spread of misinformation can lead to cause severe damage. Flagging tools can be considered a positive step in the right direction. Furthermore, there is a need for improvements in the business model and the algorithms of social media platforms to address the issue of false content.

The severity of the false content can be judged by the recent hoax showing a fire in the Amazon rainforest that was posted by many superstars as well; however, the data suggests that those pictures were taken in 1989, 2012, and 2013.

Instagram is of this view that artificial intelligence will help in training the algorithms to identify the false content in the future; however, there will always be a need of human intervention to validate the process.

Read next: Facebook Expands its “Today In” Local News Feature to over 6,000 cities
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