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Instagram hides false content behind warnings, except for politicians

Instagram is giving politicians the same free rein to spread misinformation as its parent company Facebook. Instagram is expanding its limited fact-checking test in the U.S. from May and will now work with 45 third-party organizations to assess the truthfulness of photo and video content on its app. Material rated as false will be hidden from the Explore and hashtag pages, and covered with an interstitial warning blocking the content in the feed or Stories until users tap again to see the post.

This goes an important step further than Facebook’s early attempts to append warnings on links alongside content but that still let users immediately consume the misinformation. In October Facebook announced it would use a similar interstitial warning system.

nstagram will use image matching technology to find additional copies of false content and apply the same label, and do this across Facebook and Instagram content. That could become a talking point for Facebook as it tries to dissuade regulators from breaking up the company and spinning off Instagram. On the other hand, it’s a valuable economy of scale for protecting the internet. Breaking up Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp might lead to worse enforcement through fragmented resources, though it could lead the apps to compete for the best moderation.

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