We think of Instagram as a place to post artistic photos of our salads or see photos that make our friends’ vacations jealous. But something more insidious has been lurking in our feeds: false information. Two weeks ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee called Instagram the “most effective tool” for manipulating the elections in its report on interference in the 2016 elections. To prepare for the 2020 elections and for the propaganda attack, Instagram is launching a new feature: a fake information tag that will make fake news easier to detect.
If you share something that might not be true, a pop-up window will appear that says: “Independent fact verifiers say this publication includes false information. Your publication will include a notice that says it is false. Are you sure you want to share it?” You can still share it, but the post will be labeled with false information.
Over the next month, content that has been rated “false” or “partly false” by an independent fact-checker will be more prominently labeled so you can better understand if information you’re seeing is reliable. pic.twitter.com/TPgOjL6HIK
— Instagram (@instagram) October 21, 2019
The false information label will cover publications that have been discredited by data verifiers and will be less likely to appear on people’s feeds. You can still click on “view post” and you can click “see why” to see why the post was tagged as false information.
The changes are intended to deter electoral interference and “protect the democratic process.” It is an attempt to prevent false information from going viral. “In addition to clearer labels, we are also working to take faster measures to prevent erroneous information from going viral, especially since quality reports and factual verification take time. In many countries, even in the U.S. ., If we have signs that some of the content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by third-party data verifiers, “Facebook (which has Instagram) wrote in a blog post titled” Helping to protect elections. 2020 Americans. ”
Got it. Does that mean we should expect some changes along the lines of what I mentioned? (And thank you for the reply.)
— Karissa Bell (@karissabe) October 17, 2019
It’s great that they are taking steps to make the Internet a safer place, but it is also important to learn to detect it on their own. Researchers at the University of New York discovered that people over 65 were more likely to share false information, regardless of party affiliation. It is believed that this is because this demographic has less digital literacy.
You will not always have algorithms and applications at your fingertips, but you can do your own fact check by looking at the source of the information to see if it comes from a reputable site or account. What support does the information have? Are there real facts and statistics that support it? Or does the statement seem to be based on emotion?
It is also important to verify more than just your facts. You should also verify your bias. The Pew Research Center says that one of the reasons why false information is disseminated is due to confirmation bias. People who share fake news do not necessarily try to spread wrong information, but communicate about something they are passionate about.
While it would have been great to have this Instagram feature four years ago, at least we are getting it now. Hopefully, this time things will not become a messy and messy circus.