Facebook’s fact checking program expands to Instagram

Instagram users can now report suspicious posts shared across the photo and video-sharing platform

MANILA, Philippines – Instagram users can now report suspicious and possibly false posts spread all over the platform. But for now, only US-based fact checkers will be verifying the flagged posts.

On August 15, Facebook announced that it was expanding its third-party fact checking program to Instagram, the photo and video-sharing social networking service it acquired in 2012. The ratings will be the same as those of Facebook’s – these are: true, false, or misleading/mixed.

The technical rollout was launched in the US first and should be available to international users by the end of the month, says the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). The IFCN is Poynter Institute’s unit that brings together fact-checkers and has 71 signatories all over the world, including Rappler.

To report hoaxes or posts that carry false or misleading information, Instagram users only have to tap the 3 dots at the upper right of the photo or video, select “It’s inappropriate” and then tap “False information.”

However, Instagram will not take down posts from its platform even if proven false by fact checkers. Instead, they will be downplayed on the “explore” and “hashtag” pages. The users who post the reported contents will also not be notified, unlike in Facebook.

“In Facebook, posts become popular by shares. On Instagram, people use multiple hashtags to promote their pieces of content and have them showing up on many different pages. This is where we will be working on,” Poynter quoted Instagram spokesperson Stephanie Otway as saying.

Instagram, too, doesn’t plan to offer a training workshop focused on their platform. The IFCN said Instagram’s goal in this program is to train its artificial intelligence to become better at spotting false information in the future, instead of having to rely on humans.

There was no information yet about the role of fact-checkers outside of the US in this program. In the Philippines, Rappler and Vera Files are the only verified signatories to the IFCN Code of Principles. (READ: Rappler now a member of the International Fact-Checking Network) – Rappler.com