With only four days until the US presidential election, Instagram is cracking down on hashtags. The company announced yesterday that it would temporarily get rid of the “recent” tab on hashtag pages to potentially stop the spread of “harmful content” around the election. Typically when you search a hashtag on Instagram, you can choose between browsing the “top” posts or the most recent. Now, it seems you can only view the top ones.
Both Instagram and its parent company Facebook have taken steps to try to prevent misinformation across various platforms ahead of and during the election. Facebook said earlier this month it took down 120,000 posts across both Facebook proper and Instagram that violated its voter interference policies. The company also added warnings to 150 million posts debunked by fact-checkers and rejected 2.2 million ad submissions for targeting the US without completing its authorization process.
Starting today, for people in the U.S. we 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.
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) October 29, 2020
Facebook also says it will ban ads that wrongly claim victory in the US presidential race or ads that claim rampant voter fraud could alter the results of the election. It’ll also reject ads from the campaigns of President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden if either tries to claim a win prematurely. In September, Facebook announced a ban on new political ads the week before the election, and earlier this month, the company said it would stop accepting US-based political ads after the election “indefinitely” to avoid confusion and chaos stemming from potential misinformation and premature announcements about the results of the race.