Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have come under increasing scrutiny for their failure to address the spread of false information. Even the savviest reader can soimetimes have a difficult time knowing when the post they see is real or a hoax. Now Instagram has created a way for users to report fake news on the platform.
This feature is currently available for users in the United States, but Instagram plans to expand to its users around the globe. It follows Instagram’s recent push to stop bullying on the platform.
How Does It Work?
When users flag content as false information, Instagram uses third-party fact-checkers who receive an alert. If they determine that the flag is correct, and the post is fake news or some other kind of misinformation, they can suppress the post on the explore page or as a hashtag. The fact-checkers can also choose to remove the post altogether and Instagram can freeze or delete the account that posted the content based on the number of reports and the content.
How to Flag/Report Fake News on Instagram
- When using Instagram on your mobile device, locate a questionable post you want to flag.
- TAP the three-dot menu in the upper right corner of the post.
- TAP “Report”
- TAP “It’s Inappropriate”
- TAP “False Information”
Understand the Terms and Conditions
All social media platforms have Terms and Conditions we agree to when setting up an account. Social Media companies have the right to suppress posts based on the rules they determine, and we accept those rules. Few people actually read these terms. As these platforms are not bound by law to ban false information, any social media platform trying to curb misinformation is relying on its users to help.
Parent company Facebook came under fire following Russian interference in the 2016 election. While Instagram wasn’t the main focus at the time. However, Reuters notes that an independent report commissioned by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that Instagram was “perhaps the most effective platform” for Russian actors trying to spread false information since the election.