Health Care

Instagram To Block Anti-Vaccine Hashtags Amid Public Health Emergency

Instagram To Block Anti-Vaccine Hashtags Amid Public Health Emergency”

On Thursday, the Facebook-owned service said it plans on blocking any hashtag page that contains high amounts of "verifiably false vaccine misinformation".

Instagram is expanding its methods to block anti-vaccine misinformation hashtags and search results on its platform, The Verge reports. Clicking a banned hashtag simply won't let the users anywhere and it won't even come up if it's being searched for on objective.

Instagram declined to say what threshold a hashtag needs to reach before it is a candidate for removal, as it doesn't want users to be able to game the system.

"If the hashtag was #vaccines1234, if it contained a high proportion of known vaccine misinformation, we would block that hashtag entirely", Ms Newton added.

Instagram said "known vaccine misinformation" refers to misinformation that has been verified as false by the health organisations across the globe.

Human moderators across Instagram's safety and security team are monitoring vaccination hashtags and reviewing whether their content is verifiably false before blocking them from the app, the firm said.

Instagram is also thinking about showing educational pop-up messages to people who search for vaccine-related hoaxes.

The feature is still in development and the company didn't share a launch date.

In the meantime, many continue to find that posts with vaccine misinformation still populate the platform. So hashtags that include posts with confirmed false information won't display any search results.

Experts are concerned that anti-vax content and misinformation spreading online can discourage people from getting vaccinated or leave them vulnerable to contracting potentially deadly diseases such as measles.

The move comes after Facebook said it was "exploring additional measures" to address anti-vaccination posts in February, following concerns raised about the controversial subject appearing in groups and pages across Facebook.

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