Instagram Is Pushing Anti-Vaccine Misinformation and QAnon Content, Study Finds
In the past year, social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have made very public efforts to try to prevent the proliferation of Covid-19-related misinformation and election fraud conspiracy theories. Yet a new study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which tracks the spread of misinformation on digital platforms, suggests that at least one platform — Instagram — has failed in its efforts to curb such content.
According to Imran Ahmed, CEO of the U.K.-based organization, the study was prompted by Instagram’s August 2020 rollout of a new feature called “suggested posts,” which appeared when users reached the bottoms of their feeds. The study’s authors found it curious that the platform would introduce such a feature in the midst of the pandemic, when COVID-19-related misinformation was abounding across social media. They were particularly interested in studying Instagram, which Ahmed refers to as the “fastest-growing” platform regarding misinformation about vaccines, which has been “driven by a new wave of influencers who’ve come along in the anti-vaxx space driven in part by the opportunity COVID-19 has presented,” he says.