New notification would come as measles cases hit a 25-year high in the U.S.
Instagram is looking to crackdown on vaccine misinformation by developing a pop-up notification users would see when they find inaccurate medical information on the app, a company spokesperson told TheWrap on Monday.
There isn’t a confirmed rollout date for the notification, but Instagram is currently looking at how to best alert users when they come across hashtags or posts sharing misinformation, like a post stating vaccines cause measles. The spokesperson said Instagram will not take action against users that share their opinions on vaccines.
The notification, if soon adopted, would come at a critical time. There have already been 764 cases of the measles so far this year, the greatest number of cases since 1994 and more than double the 372 total cases last year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Despite being declared eradicated in 2000, measles cases have spiked in recent years, with the CDC blaming organizations that deliberately target families that don’t vaccinate their kids with “inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines.” Nationwide, more than 91% of Americans have been vaccinated since the mid-1990s, according to The New York Times. All states offer exemptions for children that are allergic to the vaccines, as well as some religious and “personal choice” exemptions.
Facebook-owned Instagram has increasingly looked to combat misinformation this year, using similar pop-up alerts for users looking for content on self-harm and opioids. In February, Instagram started using “sensitivity screens” to blur images of users hurting themselves after the suicide death of a British teenager who viewed self-harm content on the app.
Other tech giants have also looked to combat misinformation with notifications. YouTube, for example, features a prominent banner with a blurb and link to an Encyclopaedia Britannica article on the Holocaust if a user searches for Holocaust denial videos.