• On May 28, Fox Business reported that Instagram has been testing labels on posts related to coronavirus that link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website. Instagram confirmed it is running a small test connecting people with resources from the CDC on posts mentioning COVID-19. Instagram also prompts users with a notification that reads, "Looking for coronavirus info? See the latest information from the [CDC] so you can help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)" when they look up hashtags related to the virus. The notification then prompts users with two options: "Go to" or "See Posts."[1]

  • On May 18, introduced Guides, a way to more easily discover recommendations, tips and other content from favorite creators, public figures, organizations and publishers on Instagram. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram’s first Guide is about wellness content. It enables users to connect with expert organizations to share resources on how to look after your well-being, maintain connection with others or manage anxiety or grief. To view a Guide, visit the profile of participating creators and tap the middle icon to view their Guides. In the coming days, you’ll also be able to access Guides within the Explore tab.[2]

  • On May 13, launched a set of new features primarily intended to fight online bullying, but also to more generally create a more positive experience on the platform. Users will be able to 1) delete comments in bulk, as well as block or restrict multiple accounts that post negative comments; 2) set the tone for their account and engage with their community by pinning a select number of comments to the top of their comments thread; and 3) manage who can tag or mention you on Instagram.[3]

  • On April 22, announced they will provide the location high-reach Instagram accounts on every post they share, so people have more information to help them gauge the reliability and authenticity of the content they see in their feeds. This step, primarily focused on protecting election integrity, will be piloted in the US, starting specifically with Instagram accounts that are based outside the US but reach large audiences based primarily in the US.

  • On March 25, Facebook communicated that in an effort to encourage social distancing, IG had launched the “Stay Home” sticker, modeled on one designed to encourage voting. It shows how others are social distancing by compiling accounts that you follow, that are using the sticker, in your shared story[4]

  • Also noted that IG has added a search module to connect people with accurate information; began downranking fact-checked misinformation in Feed and Stories; and is removing COVID-19 accounts and content from both search results and the Explore tab of recommendations, unless posted by a credible health organization. Karina Newton, Instagram's head of policy, notes that this requires overhauling the recommendation algorithm to look at the entire spectrum of possible queries related to coronavirus, including misspellings, “type-ahead” search results, and 180 languages, and weeding out accounts with names and bio information that would ordinarily correspond to those queries[5].

  • On March 17, unveiled a paid partnership with WHO and @DudeWithSign, an influencer account with 6.4M followers, to “create informative memes” that raise awareness of and direct followers to accurate information and updates on COVID-19.

  • In countries impacted by the virus, added a call-out at the top of homescreen feed showing links to information from the World Health Organization and local health ministries.

  • Preventing users from searching for COVID-19-related augmented reality effects unless they were made in partnership with legitimate health organizations.

  • Sending potentially false information to fact checkers.

  • Removing known harmful misinformation related to COVID-19, and when someone taps on a hashtag related to COVID-19, showing resources from WHO, CDC, and local health authorities[6]

  • Blocking and restricting hashtags used to spread misinformation; banning ads exploiting the situation[7]

  • “Thinking through a longer term solution” to help connect people searching COVID-19 related terms with credible information; in the meantime, showing the accounts of leading health organizations in these searches to better connect people to credible resources.[8]

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