Like many other social networks during the COVID 19 pandemic, Instagram has introduced new tools to help people get relevant information as efficiently as possible. After adding new information prompts and links to official resources in related search queries last week, Instagram is now expanding on its COVID-19 response tools, with additional information panels in the main feed and a ban on searches for coronavirus related AR masks.

According to Instagram:

“To help people get relevant and up-to-date resources, we will start to show more information from WHO and local health ministries at the top of Instagram feeds in some countries.”

Unlike some earlier crises, when Instagram was adding relevant links and calls in related search queries, in the case of COVID 19 was required a more extreme information measure from Instagram. In the Instagram case, that means that alerts will be highlighted in the most visible place – at the top of the main feed.

Given the reach that Instagram has, this could be a hugely beneficial update – even if only a small percentage of users actually end up tapping through, it could contribute significantly to ensuring timely, accurate information on the crisis is being disseminated within communities. Not everyone has to check it, but those that do can share what they learn with others – and given the need for proactive, aggressive measures to stop the spread of the virus, this could prove very important.

Also, another measure introduced by Instagram is to ban the search for AR effects associated with a pandemic:

“We will no longer allow people to seek the effects of AR regarding COVID-19 on Instagram unless they have been developed in partnership with a recognized healthcare organization. This is part of our ongoing effort to better connect people with credible health information.”

The measure is being introduced because objections have emerged on Instagram over coronavirus filters, which many consider inappropriate at this time, given the increasing number of deaths resulting from the epidemic.

The COVID 19 pandemic is just about to reach its peak in the weeks ahead, so we should expect further adjustments to social networks to inform our users as adequately as possible and try to thwart fake news and abuse this situation for spreading panic. Social networks can definitely make an enormous contribution to such crises for the whole world.

Check out the first reactions online on social media, from strange to essential πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡