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'Instagram's suggested posts spread falsehood on virus'

Platform recommended 104 posts containing misinformation about COVID-19 in September-November last year: Study

Beyza Binnur Dönmez   | 09.03.2021
'Instagram's suggested posts spread falsehood on virus'


Instagram's suggested posts brought misinformation on coronavirus and vaccines to its users' timeline, according to a recent study.

"The Instagram algorithm is driving people further and further into their own realities, but also splitting those realities apart so that some people are getting no misinformation whatsoever and some people are being driven more and more misinformation," said Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate that conducted the study, cited by the US National Public Radio.

The social media platform recommended 104 posts containing misinformation, about one post a week, from September to November in 2020, according to the nonprofit company that has offices in London and Washington D.C.

"Putting it into the timeline is really powerful," Ahmed said. "Most people wouldn't realize they're being fed information from accounts they're not following. They think 'These are people I've chosen to follow and trust,' and that's what makes it so dangerous."

Although Facebook -- the parent company of Instagram -- allegedly took on an aggressive approach against falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines in recent months, critics say the fight has not been efficient to prevent misinformation spread with its automated suggestion posts.

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