When COVID-19 became a large topic of news reporting, a lot of misinformation was being spread. This misinformation and fake news were being spread on all counts of the political spectrum and news outlets, in order to fulfill different agendas. Because of this, Instagram began to flag posts that had information about COVID-19 on it. The app would direct people to the CDC website.
This information can be beneficial to users of the app. Linking to the CDC and other health experts helps users do their own research and see the source of information. This can help prevent the spread of misinformation about a topic of great importance.
Even websites like Twitter are helping users get their information beyond social media. When you type “COVID-19” into the search bar on Twitter, it links to the CDC Twitter account and vaccines.gov. The CDC Twitter account shares useful information daily.
However, linking to posts mentioning COVID-19 has drawn some criticism. People are upset that any post that even has a slight mention of COVID-19 will be linked to. They might think it ruins the post aesthetic or it is just excessive.
According to Fox Business, this move by Instagram came in May 2020. The move came in order to prevent the spread of misinformation. Instagram has kept this service in place for over a year and a half now. However, an article by NPR also states that Instagram has helped with sharing falsehoods about COVID-19 by promoting posts to users.
Overall, it appears that the move by Instagram to provide COVID-19 information on posts that mention it has been positive. However, by adding links to irrelevant stories and promoting misinformation, there have been critics of the movement. Still, it is a step in the right direction in cleaning up content in an era of fake news or propaganda.