A Report Accuses Instagram of Promoting False and Misleading Information About the Pandemic

With Covid-19 on the rise, the recommended pages of some new Instagram users started acting up.

According to a report by a social media watch dog, it was revealed that the recommendations on Instagram was leading the people towards Covid misinformation, anti-vaccination content and anti-Semitic material at a time when the pandemic was at the peak in the world.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that the features of Instagram like the “explore pages” and “suggested posts” also suggested and showed people some false and misinformation about the corona virus pandemic. According to CCDH, mostly new accounts which were formed on the social media app received such suggestions once they were caught up with all of their news feed and the misinformation was mostly seen to users who followed accounts of people were promoting wellness online and anti-vaccination personalities. Volunteers who followed 10 accounts with anti-vaccine links received recommendations for posts promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and posts claiming that there was no pandemic and encouraged people to stop taking the necessary precautions and getting tested.

Upon all this the CCDH Chief Executive showed disdained towards the social media company saying that at such a crucial time when the world needs to walk hand in hand and help each other social media giants like Instagram are encouraging users to view inaccurate and misleading information about the ongoing pandemic through their new features and profiting off it when people scroll for more related searches because the content that is visible to people is what the publisher makes the people see and what they lead them to.

When Facebook which is the parent company of Instagram was confronted about this, the tech giant denied any sort of allegations and said that the research was outdated and misleading and that the social media company has taken several steps towards promoting information about the ongoing virus and encouraging people to take the necessary precautions. The company said that the research conducted was five months old and in between that time they have made sure no false or misleading content remains on their platforms related to the corona virus. The company has managed to delete off almost 12 million posts that contained harmful and misleading information about the vaccines and the virus itself and it is doing its best to remove untrue content everyday while the report which was shown by the researchers is five months old and only shows 104 posts which could be categorized as misleading, which is certainly a small number compared to the millions of posts the company has managed to delete and remove. The social media giant also said that they have focused more on connecting people with true and credible information and also have directed more than 10 million searches so far related to Covid-19 and vaccines to authoritative health sources such as the NHS and government websites. They are working on making Instagram a safer place by making improvements in search that will make accounts that are misleading about the pandemic harder to find by the people and easier to remove by the company.

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