Regardless of Instagram's efforts, the search outcomes for Covid-19 vaccines are nonetheless sketchy
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 posting 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 been largely debunked by experts, they won't appear in search and because of Removed any violations of our guidelines from our platform. In addition, no content will be displayed or recommended on Explore or hashtag pages that contains misinformation about vaccinations. "
The spokesperson 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 emphasized, “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 are high quality accounts and we will continue to invest in this area. We've improved search to protect our community from content that could be harmful, but our job isn't done yet. "
Instagram is also reappearing at the point where Covid-19 cases have skyrocketed again to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
This request directs users to health authorities such as the CDC, the World Health Organization or local colleagues.