Instagram disables the 'Recent' tab on hashtag pages to stop the spread of misinformation around Election Day

Instagram disables the 'Recent' tab on hashtag pages to stop the spread of misinformation around Election Day
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Instagram has disabled the "Recent" tab from hashtag pages for US users to prevent the spread of misinformation ahead of Election Day.
  • The tab shows the latest posts that have used a particular hashtag. It was disabled Thursday, Instagram said.
  • "We're doing this to reduce the real-time spread of potentially harmful content that could pop up around the election," the company tweeted.
  • Facebook, which owns Instagram, and Twitter have already launched features designed to stamp out false information ahead of Election Day.

Instagram has disabled the "Recent" tab from hashtag searches in the US to stop the spread of misinformation in the run-up to the presidential election.

"As we near the US elections, we're making changes to make it harder for people to come across possible misinformation on Instagram," the social media platform said in a tweet on Thursday.

"We're doing this to reduce the real-time spread of potentially harmful content that could pop up around the election."
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The tab shows the latest posts with a hashtag that the user has searched for.

Instagram users can find the "Recent" tab by typing in a word in the search bar and clicking on "Tags." The app then shows two tabs — one labeled "Top" and the other "Recent".

The move comes after Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Instagram's parent company Facebook, said Thursday he was worried about "the risk of civil unrest" across the US due to the election, echoing concerns he made in September. Facebook has introduced its own new policies to combat misinformation, including tightening rules around political ads.
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As the US election draws near, social media companies face increasing pressure to stamp out misinformation and hate speech on their platforms.

Twitter said in a blog post on October 9 it will start encouraging users to post a comment on a tweet they want to retweet, and asked them to consider what they are posting on the platform. Tweets that falsely claim a win for any candidate before the official election results will be labeled with a warning, it said.
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Twitter also said in May that it would add warning labels to tweets that contain potentially harmful, misleading information.

Read more: Facebook's ad ban is now in force ahead of Election Day. Democratic operatives call it 'a PR stunt' that won't stop disinformation but could hurt down-ballot candidates

Facebook has said it will ban all political ads indefinitely after the election. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post in September that it would crack down on conspiracy groups like QAnon and militias ahead of the US election.
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In an earnings call on Thursday, Zuckerberg said the company has done a lot to stop foreign interference since Russia used Facebook to try to sway the 2016 US election. "We've taken down more than 100 networks, including from Russia, Iran, and China and we block millions of potentially abusive accounts every day," he said.

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