Instagram said late Thursday that it is removing widely debunked claims about Covid-19 vaccines and directing users searching for terms related to vaccines or Covid-19 to information from credible health officials.
However, at the time of this post on Friday, questionable accounts were just a few clicks away.
Searching for these terms resulted in people being redirected to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. If you click your way through to continue with the search results, the CDC was the top result, followed by Gavi, an international public-private global health company partnering to improve access to new and underutilized vaccines for children in poorer countries, and then by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
However, according to these three credible sources, Instagram search results were littered with accounts that were clearly created for the sole purpose of discrediting vaccines.
A Facebook spokesperson told Adweek, “Over the years we’ve improved our search to connect people with credible and relevant information. If accounts contain terms that have largely been debunked by experts, they will not appear in search and will be removed from our platform for violating our guidelines. In addition, content that contains misinformation about vaccinations will not be displayed or recommended on Explore or hashtag pages. “
The spokesman stated that the order of search results is determined by several factors, including the content users have previously dealt with, the accounts they are following and their previous behavior on the platform. He pointed out, “An account has been constantly breaking our rules or posting content that is misinformation, it may no longer appear in recommendations for Reed and Explore. “
When asked if there were any further promotions planned, the Facebook spokesperson said, “In the last few months we have adjusted the search type header (the predictive text that appears when users enter search terms) to improve the accounts and hashtags that appear to be high quality accounts and we will continue to invest in this area. We’ve improved search to keep our community safe from harmful content, but our job isn’t done yet. “
Instagram is also reappearing at the point where Covid-19 cases have skyrocketed again to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
This request directs users to health authorities such as the CDC, the World Health Organization or local colleagues.