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[Photo via Unsplash/Saulo Mohana]

Instagram is putting more effort into fighting against misinformation during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic while offering more tools to promote physical distancing.

The company’s new measures are expanding on Facebook‘s existing misinformation policy aiming to limit the spread of misinformation and potentially harmful content about the virus.

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Back in January, Facebook announced they would be removing false claims and conspiracy theories about the virus.

If you haven’t noticed by now, searching for the terms relating to the virus brings up information from the World Health Organization. On top of that, information regarding updates on the outbreak are being pushed to the top of everyone’s feed.

In January, they also said they would be temporarily banning ads and sale listings for medical face masks. CNBC reports part of that measure is aiming at preventing people from price gouging necessary medical supplies that are already in a shortage.

Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern announced the measure in a tweet which you can see below.

The new measures the social media company is announcing today includes a new feature called Co-Watching. It will allow you to browse posts along with friends over in-app video chat. The point of it is to increase the likelihood people will practice physical distancing instead of hanging out in person.

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Beyond that, a new educational alert from WHO will appear at the top of search bars. Verifiable health information from authorities is being promoted while removal of misinformation is becoming more aggressive.

According to The Verge, an Instagram spokesperson says posts that aren’t cleared by third-party fact checkers are being removed from the Explore feature as well as appearing in hashtag searches.

“If posts are rated false by third-party-fact checkers, we remove them from Explore and hashtag pages,” the spokesperson says in a statement to The Verge. “We also remove false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities as having the potential to cause harm to people who believe them.”

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What do you think of Instagram’s new tools and measures they’re putting in place? Let us know in the comments below.

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