Posted on March 24, 2020
Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency in January, we’ve taken steps to help people access accurate information, stay safe, and stay connected.
Today we're announcing additional updates:
Accessing Accurate Information
People who search for information related to the coronavirus or COVID-19 on Instagram will start to see an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries. We are working quickly to make this available globally over the coming weeks.
We’re also launching new stickers to help people share accurate COVID-19 information in Stories. These new features include reminders to wash your hands, distance yourself from others and more. These will be available in the camera in the coming days.
Over the past few weeks we've added a notice at the top of feed for countries affected by COVID-19. The notice includes reliable resources from expert health organizations. In addition, we’ve been highlighting resources from these organizations when people view related hashtags.
Keeping Our Community Safe
In addition to promoting credible information throughout our app, we’re making several changes to reduce the spread of misinformation.
We’ll remove COVID-19 accounts from account recommendations, and we are working to remove some COVID-19 related content from Explore, unless posted by a credible health organization. We will also start to downrank content in feed and Stories that has been rated false by third-party-fact checkers.
This is in addition to our existing policies on misinformation. If posts are rated false by third-party-fact checkers, we remove them from Explore and hashtag pages. We also remove false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities as having the potential to cause harm to people who believe them.
To prevent people from exploiting this public health emergency we’ve already put several new policies into effect. We prohibited misleading ads for products that refer to COVID-19 in ways intended to create urgency, guarantee cures or prevent people from contracting it, and we have temporarily banned advertisements and branded content that promote certain medical supplies, including face masks. In addition, we removed the ability to search for COVID-19 related AR effects unless they were developed in partnership with a recognized health organization.
Staying Connected and Supporting Communities
To help people support relief efforts, we’re making our Donation sticker available in additional countries and adding a new COVID-19 section so people can quickly identify relevant nonprofits.
To help people stay connected, we’ve launched media sharing, a new feature that allows you to view Instagram posts together with your friends over video chat. You can start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread, then view saved, liked and suggested photos/videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner in an ongoing video chat.
Finally, we’ve launched a “Stay Home” sticker. Any accounts you follow who use the sticker will be added to a shared Instagram story, allowing you to see how others are practicing social distancing at this time.
We will continue to prioritize safety, connecting people with accurate information, and encouraging support as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves. We’re closely monitoring the situation and regularly sharing updates at about.fb.com/coronavirus. For latest news and information on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit the World Health Organization.