Instagram cracks down on anti-vaccine hashtags

Instagram has told Engadget that it will block all hashtags that promote information about vaccinations that is “verifiably false.”

Previously, Instagram already blocked vaccine-focused hashtags that were false in their own right, such as #vaccinescauseautism.

The new policy will extend to hashtags that aren’t false in their own right, but are used to promote posts that contain false information.

For example, if an anti-vaccination group began to use the hashtag #vaccine123 to disseminate falsities about vaccines, the hashtag would be banned.

Instagram said it is also looking for other ways to combat fake news. It is currently displaying a pop-up message when hashtags related to opioids or self-harm are searched for, and is considering doing the same for vaccine-related hashtags.

Instagram’s focus on fighting fake news, specifically that related to vaccines, follows its parent company Facebook’s attempt to do the same back in March.

Facebook bans anti-vaccination ads and also blocks anti-vaccination views from being seen in Facebook’s search function and recommended bar.

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Instagram cracks down on anti-vaccine hashtags