Instagram ramps up anti-vaccine misinformation blocking measures

Instagram ramps up anti-vaccine misinformation blocking measures

The Facebook-owned platform already blocks obvious hashtag terms used to spread false information, such as #vaccinescauseautism, #vaccinescauseaids and #vaccinesarepoison, but its policy is now being extended to address vaccine hashtags that seem innocent on the surface.

If a hashtag like #vaccines1234 were found in posts promoting verifiably vaccine misinformation it would be added to...

As part of the move, vaccine misinformation will not be shown in Instagram's Explore, hashtag and search pages.

Instagram has now begun blocking the #vaccineskill hashtag page, but you can still find many more anti-vaccination pages over the platform, such as #vaccinesdontwork and #vaccineinjury.

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The spokesperson would not elaborate on how much misinformation has to appear under a given hashtag for it to be banned, saying the company didn't want users to be able to game the system.

However, several anti-vaccine topics and accounts spreading misinformation and hoaxes are still active on Instagram. So hashtags that include posts with confirmed false information won't display any search results. "It's very unfortunate that there would be such a hashtag because it's going to scare people", Daniel Salmon, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety, told CNN Business Wednesday. It's certainly a good thing to see Instagram attempt to tackle these issues with some sense of urgency, especially given the recent measles outbreak. Reputable organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that vaccination for children is crucial to public health.

Instagram is cracking down on misinformation about vaccinations being spread by blocking hashtags on its app that draw out "verifiably false" posts about the controversial subject.

The crack down occurs as the USA is reporting a record number of measles cases across the country with many critics blaming the outbreak on the anti-vaxxer movement.

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