Instagram cracks down on anti-vaxxer content.

Marco Verch/Flickr (CC-BY)

Instagram blocks some anti-vax hashtags—but still has far to go

The full initiative will roll out over 'several weeks.'


Alyse Stanley


Posted on Mar 22, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 4:28 pm CDT

Instagram joined Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest on Thursday as the latest to crack down on the rampant spread of vaccine misinformation that’s hosted on the platform.

Gizmodo reports that popular hashtags ripe with misleading information like #vaccinescauseautism, #vaccinesarepoison, and #vaccinecauseaids have been blocked as of Thursday evening. A recent expose by the Atlantic highlighted hashtags as the primary tool anti-vaxxers used to spread conspiracies and inaccurate vaccine information on Instagram.

An Instagram spokesperson told the Hill that as part of a drive to curb misinformation, the platform is “looking at ways to minimize recommendations of this content and accounts that post it across Instagram.”

Earlier this month, the platform’s parent company, Facebook, declared that both sites were launching campaigns to restrict such hosted content. Other platforms have also made strides to push out vaccine misinformation. Last month, YouTube began demonetizing anti-vaccine videos, and Pinterest dropped all vaccine-related search results.

Still, Instagram hashtags like #vaccineskill and #vaccinesharm continue to rack up thousands of posts, Gizmodo reports. Even searching #vaccine leads to similar hashtags riddled with falsities, so the platform still has significant room for improvement in its efforts.

More stringent measures to cap vaccine misinformation will go into effect over the course of “several weeks,” the Instagram spokesperson told the Hill on Thursday. But the question remains: With fewer and fewer platforms willing to host their content, where will anti-vaxxers post their dank memes?


H/T Gizmodo

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*First Published: Mar 22, 2019, 6:20 pm CDT