Instagram to block anti-vaccine hashtags amid misinformation crackdown

Instagram said Thursday it plans to block a slew of anti-vaccine hashtags amid an ongoing crackdown on medical misinformation on the platform.

The company, which is owned by Facebook, shared its plans after media outlets inquired about anti-vaccine misinformation continuing to spread on the social media giant’s platforms.

Facebook three weeks ago unveiled plans to combat anti-vaccine content, including a pledge that it would no longer promote anti-vaccine posts on Instagram’s search and “explore” features. 

The Atlantic and CNN on Thursday reported that Facebook and Instagram’s search functions still recommend vaccine-related misinformation, including groups and hashtags that associate vaccinations with autism, a claim that scientists and experts have categorically debunked.

The spokesperson said the platform’s planned “short-term measures” will include blocking hashtags associated with “known health-related misinformation including #vaccinescauseautism, #vaccinesarepoison, and #vaccinescauseids.” 

As of Thursday evening, those hashtags had not yet been blocked.

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