Facebook’s Instagram said on Thursday that it will make changes to its image-sharing platform for American users to prevent the spread of misinformation around the November 3 presidential election.

For users in the United States, Instagram will say in a statement starting on Thursday that Instagram will temporarily remove the “recent” tab from the tag page starting Thursday.

The statement added: “We are doing this to reduce the real-time spread of potentially harmful content that may suddenly appear during the election.”

Instagram’s “recent” tab arranges the tags in chronological order and zooms in on the content. Researchers warn that automatic amplification will cause misinformation to spread quickly on the platform.

This development comes as social media companies are facing increasing pressure to deal with misinformation related to the election and prepare for violence or polling station intimidation that may occur around the November 3 vote.

Earlier this month, Twitter said it would delete tweets, calling on people to interfere in the US election process or the implementation of election results, including through violence.

Twitter recently announced some temporary steps to slow down the speed of content enlargement: For example, from October 20th to at least the end of the US general election week, global users who press “Retweet” will first be directed to the “Quote Tweet” button to Encourage people to add their own comments.

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Twitter said it will also stop displaying popular topics without adding context. Its decision to automatically make recommendations contrasts sharply with Facebook’s practice, which has previously promoted its group products.

Respectively on Thursday, Facebook admitted that a technical error in its system caused many Republican and Democratic ads to be inappropriately suspended.

This is the result of a policy change announced by Facebook last month that bans new political ads a week before the election. Facebook said it has made an update to enable the affected ads to run.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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