Following a series of decisions made in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Meta has announced that Instagram will demote posts linking to Russian state media and take steps to protect the identity of those in Ukraine and Russia.
Instagram is taking steps that follow those on Facebook in what it says are decisions that have been made at Meta to help keep people in Ukraine and Russia safe and reduce the spread of misinformation. Russia blocked access to Facebook and Twitter last week, but Instagram appears to still be usable to some degree in the region.
Demoting Posts with Links to Russian State Media
Meta says that following last week’s decision to demote posts containing links to Russian state-controlled media, the same will be done on Instagram. Stories that contain a link sticker that points to a Russian state-controlled media website will be placed lower in the Stories tray. Instagram will also label these stories to let users know that they lead to a Russian state-controlled outlet.
“These changes are in addition to steps we’ve already taken to make content from accounts run by Russian state-controlled media harder to find on Instagram, and to provide more transparency if people try to share content from these accounts,” Meta explains.
Instagram is also downranking posts from Russian state-controlled media in the Feed and showing a notice before content is reshared from these accounts in Stories to let them know that this content comes from a Russian state-controlled media source.
“If people still choose to reshare these posts to their Stories, we will place those Stories lower in the tray,” the company continues.
The app will also not recommend posts from these state-controlled media sources in Explore or Reels, and Instagram says it is also making them harder to find in Search.
Beefing Up Privacy
Instagram is also hiding information about users’ followers, who they are following, and those who are following each other for private accounts in Russia and Ukraine.
“This means that people following private accounts based in Ukraine and Russia will no longer be able to see who those accounts are following, or who follows them,” Meta explains.
“We’re also not showing these accounts in other people’s follower or following lists, or in our “mutual follows” feature. We notified private accounts in Ukraine and Russia letting them know about this change.”
Instagram is also making sure users know about the “Your Activity” and “Download Your Information” tools in the app for users in Ukraine and Russia. These tools allow users to bulk delete content they’ve posted as well as download a copy of all their Instagram data.