Hashtags that for a "large part" are linked to disinformation are blocked.
The spokesperson also said the process for combating vaccine misinformation is ongoing and that Instagram is considering additional ways it can address the issue on the platform.More news: Be a cute and fuzzy sugar glider in Away
For example, a hashtag like #vaccines1234 does not contain anything alarming in its wording, but if it is found to be used in a number of posts to promote verifiably false vaccine misinformation it will be added to the block list.
If a user types a blocked hashtag into search, such as #vaccinescauseautism, Instagram won't show them that exact hashtag, though other variants may still appear.
Even neutral or pro-vaccine hashtags such as #vaccines or #vaccineswork are co-opted by anti-vaxxers to spread false claims.
Instagram declined to say what threshold a hashtag needs to reach before it is a candidate for removal, as it doesn't want users to be able to game the system. But in addition to the hashtag blocking, Instagram is also working on pop-ups that'll warn people when searching for vaccine-related misinformation. Serious adverse reactions are very, very rare.More news: Former Man City Star, Yaya Toure Retires, Seeks Coaching Career
Experts are concerned that anti-vax content and misinformation spreading online can discourage people from getting vaccinated or leave them vulnerable to contracting potentially deadly diseases such as measles.
The crack down occurs as the United States is reporting a record number of measles cases across the country with many critics blaming the outbreak on the anti-vaxxer movement.
Starting today, Instagram is hiding search results from hashtags that spread disinformation about vaccination.More news: Gracia fully focused on West Ham challenge