In an attempt to tackle fake news on its platform, Instagram recently rolled out a new update that will allow its audience to report false information. Through this update, any content that is potentially fake will be flagged as “false information” by the app, thereby allowing users to identify and subsequently report the sources spreading misinformation.
“We want you to trust what you see on Instagram. Photo and video-based misinformation is increasingly a challenge across our industry, and something our teams have been focused on addressing,” Instagram said, in an online post.
According to Instagram, the suspected content will be sent to independent fact-checkers for review and will be filtered and assessed through “a combination of feedback from our community and technology.” After demarcating the content as “fake”, Instagram will either take down the photo or video so as to “reduce its distribution” or will clearly label the photo as “false information” as an overlay. Using this algorithm, any user that tries to post the same content will receive a warning that they are about to share false information. In addition to this update, those users that repeatedly try to share false information, despite the warning, will be permanently removed from Explore and Hashtag pages of the platform.
According to a blog post, Instagram uses “image-matching technology to find further instances of this content and apply the label, helping reduce the spread of misinformation.”
Instagram’s fake news update will also be linked to its parent company, Facebook, where the platform will automatically label any content that is completely or partially fake.
This update also comes as an extension of its previous update, which was aimed at eliminating cyber bullying on the platform. In this update, the users are notified if their caption for a post looks similar to those previously reported based on the usage of words in the caption.
Instagram wrote on Facebook, “when someone writes a caption for a feed post and our AI detects the caption as potentially offensive, they will receive a prompt informing them that their caption is similar to those reported for bullying. They will also have the opportunity to edit their caption before it’s posted.”
This update also comes at a time when the social networking platforms are witnessing a surge in political posts, leading to increased misinformation amongst the users. These measures will not only allow the platforms to combat and eliminate false information, but will also allow their users to make informed choices and opinions.