Instagram has launched Co-Watching that will let people scroll the social media platform with others. The feature lets friends or family members on a group video chat browse through posts one user has Liked or Saved or posts that are recommended by Instagram. Apart from this, the company has also rolled out ‘Stay Home’ and donation stickers in various countries to help people find and support relevant nonprofit organisations.
Co-Watching is basically a way to help people virtually come out of isolation and spend time with friends online. To start a co-watching session, you have to begin a video chat by tapping the ‘video chat icon’ in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread. Users can then view saved, liked, and Instagram-suggested photos/videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner of an ongoing video chat.
In addition to the steps that it has already taken to curb misinformation on the platform, Instagram says that people who search for information related to the coronavirus will now start seeing an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries. This feature will be available globally in the coming weeks.
Instagram will also remove COVID-19 accounts from account recommendations, as well as some coronavirus-related content from Explore. The company says that unless posted by a credible health organisation, it will not allow any content related to the pandemic to surface on the social media platform. It will also downrank content in feed and Stories that have been rated false by third-party fact-checkers.
‘If posts are rated false by third-party fact-checkers, we remove them from Explore and hashtag pages. We also remove false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organisations and local health authorities as having the potential to cause harm to people who believe them,’ Instagram said in a blog.
The Facebook-owned platform also says that it has also temporarily banned advertisements that promote certain medical supplies and prohibited misleading ads for products that ‘refer to COVID-19 in ways intended to create urgency, guarantee cures, or prevent people from contracting it’.
Instagram also launched new stickers to help people share accurate information about COVID-19 in Stories and raise donations for non-profits working to help the community. First is the Donation sticker which is now available in additional countries. There’s a ‘Stay Home’ sticker to promote social distancing on Instagram Stories. With the help stickers, people can remind others to wash hands, distance themselves from others and more. These will be available in the camera in the coming days.