Instagram pauses 'recent' search listings on U.S. site

Instagram will temporarily remove its ‘recent’ search listings for U.S. users in a bid to stop fake election news

  • Instagram will temporarily remove ‘Recent’ tab from hashtag pages in the US 
  • Aim is to prevent the spread of misinformation around the presidential election  
  • ‘Recent’ tab arranges hashtags in chronological order and amplifies content 

Facebook Inc’s Instagram has announced it was making changes to its image sharing platform for U.S. users to prevent the spread of misinformation around the November 3 presidential election.

For users in the United States, Instagram will temporarily remove the ‘Recent’ tab from hashtag pages starting Thursday, it said in a statement on Twitter.

This means that when users search for a hashtag on the platform, they will no longer have the option to view ‘recent’ results.  

For users in the United States, Instagram will temporarily remove the ‘Recent’ tab from hashtag pages

‘We’re doing this to reduce the real-time spread of potentially harmful content that could pop up around the election,’ the statement added. 

Instagram’s ‘Recent’ tab arranges hashtags in chronological order and amplifies content. Researchers have cautioned that automated amplification can lead to the rapid spread of misinformation on the platform.

The development comes as social media companies face increasing pressure to combat election-related misinformation and prepare for the possibility of violence or poll place intimidation around the Nov. 3 vote.

Earlier this month, Twitter Inc TWTR.N said it will remove tweets calling for people to interfere with the U.S. election process or implementation of election results, including through violence. 

Twitter has recently announced several temporary steps to slow amplification of content: for example, from Oct. 20 to at least the end of the U.S. election week, global users pressing “retweet” will be directed first to the “quote tweet” button to encourage people to add their own commentary. 

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