With the increasing amount of time that our society spends on social media as a whole, these social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc have more and more responsibility for making sure that the news and information being shared is accurate. (Also known as not being fake news.) One very specific and important area of controversy is the anti-vaccine movement Instagram is not playing around with making sure only factual information is being shared.
Their first plan of action has already come into play, whether you have taken note or not. Earlier this year, Instagram started blocking certain anti-vaccine hashtags that consistently provided inaccurate information from its users. Now, they are taking things one step further.
Starting in September, Instagram launched a new notification from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) that encourages users to seek out trusted sources for information about vaccines. Pretty interesting. And the social media giant even worked alongside the CDC to accomplish this.
How does it work? A representative for Instagram shared is an email to Romper that if you are on Instagram and search for anything related to anti-vaccine (like a hashtag, for instance), an educational pop-up window will appear, asking you if you'd like to be redirected to the CDC.
"When it comes to health, everyone wants reliable, up-to-date information," the notification says. "The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has information that can help answers questions you may have about vaccines."
A spokesperson for Facebook, which acquired Instagram in 2012, says in a press release shared with Romper via email, "Earlier this year, we identified that, despite overwhelming consensus among scientific and medical communities on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, some groups on Facebook and Instagram were spreading misinformation and related hoaxes."
"Given the stakes around vaccinations, the ways in which misinformation on that topic can mislead people about an important health decision, and how the problem manifests on online platforms, we saw this as a key area where we could do even more than to help safeguard the health of our community."
You can also find similar protocols happening on Facebook, as they took similar steps last month. Whenever a search is done on their platform related to anything about anti-vaccine related information (even within groups, pages, and hashtags) a similar window will pop up to redirect users to the CDC. If the user is located outside of the United States, they will be directed to the World Health Organization.