Tech

Instagram To Block Anti-Vaccine Ads By Labeling Them Misinformation

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter

Instagram announced Thursday a mission to block all anti-vaccine hash tags and ads by labeling them “misinformation.”

Facebook (also the owner of Instagram) announced March 7 that due to complaints from users who had seen large amounts of anti-vaccine content, they would be taking steps to label this content as misinformation and thereby effectively hide it from public view.

Some health professionals have pushed for this move as well, citing research that shows the lack of correlation between vaccines and autism. These professionals worry that the misinformation on social media may lead people to resist vaccinations and thereby make themselves more vulnerable to illness. (RELATED: States Push For Laxer Vaccine Regulations Amid Worst Measles Outbreak In Years)

The Hill reported Thursday that “Facebook and Instagram’s search functions still recommend vaccine-related misinformation, including groups and hashtags that associate vaccinations with autism.”

A spokesperson from Instagram said that they are still working on hiding this content, and that immediate measures will include blocking anti-vaccine related hash tags including #vaccinescauseautism, #vaccinesarepoison and #vaccinescauseids.

“As part of our work to address health-related misinformation on Instagram, we’re looking at ways to minimize recommendations of this content and accounts that post it across Instagram,” the spokesperson said Thursday.

However, two weeks after Facebook promised to curb anti-vaccine related content, it remains as prominent as ever. “Vaccine” searches resulted in suggestions such as “vaccines and autism” and “vaccines revealed” which then led to results for “vaccine misinformation.”

A Thursday article in The Atlantic asserts that “Instagram Is the Internet’s New Home for Hate” and that social media sites should pay closer attention to misinformation on Instagram since it is the most popular outlet for young people.

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