Instagram recommended many posts that contained misinformation about the pandemic last fall, according to a study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, based in England. It found the app recommended 104 posts with false claims about the coronavirus, its Covid-19 disease, vaccines and the 2020 election to 15 profiles that the nonprofit created for the study.
“The study is the latest effort to document how social media platforms’ recommendation systems contribute to the spread of misinformation, which researchers say has accelerated over the past year, fueled by the pandemic and the fractious U.S. presidential election,” notes Shannon Bond of NPR. “Facebook, which owns Instagram, has cracked down more aggressively in recent months. It has widened its ban on falsehoods about Covid-19 vaccines on its namesake platform and on Instagram in February. But critics say the company has not grappled sufficiently with how its automated recommendations systems expose people to misinformation. They contend that the social networks’ algorithms can send those who are curious about dubious claims down a rabbit hole of more extreme content.”