Instagram cracks down on coronavirus-AR filters that purport to predict and treat the disease


Instagram cracks down on coronavirus-related AR effects that purport to predict and treat the disease

  • Instagram is removing popular coronavirus filters from its platform
  • The filters purported to predict or made light of the virus
  • It will still allow filters made in partnership with legitimate health organizations 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Instagram is attempting to stop coronavirus misinformation from spreading on its platform.

On Friday, the company announced via its AR creators group on Facebook that it is removing AR effects claiming to treat or predict the spread of novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

In a statement on the group, Instagram says it has ‘removed previously-published effects and are rejecting all new effects, which claim to predict, diagnose, treat, or cure coronavirus.’

Instagram users have been designing AR effects (pictured) relating COVID-19, most of which have now been removed by the platform over misinformation concerns 

The decisions comes after a flood of coronavirus filters found their way to the platform ranging in nature from superimposing a mask on one’s face to adding 3D models of the virus into one’s video. 

Some offending filters now removed by Instagram superimposed a box onto a video that ‘determines if you’ll contract or die from the coronavirus’, with flashing text that toggles between ‘no I’m safe (for now)’ and ‘yes, goodbye’.

Another filter, created, by smirnov.mikita, places the word ‘Coronavirus’ in neon lights on the user’s face, while a different filter created by the user gioacchinonmar covered users with black face sores.

The platform says it isn’t completely banning the creation of AR filters relating to coroanvirus, however. 

Instagram is also directing people to legitimate information on its site to help avoid potential hysteria over the pandemic

Instagram is also directing people to legitimate information on its site to help avoid potential hysteria over the pandemic 

It will still allow users to search for COVID-19 effects but only if they were ‘developed in partnership with a recognized health organization’ such as WHO. 

Instagram’s parent company, Facebook has also joined efforts to battle misinformation about COVID-19 by providing WHO with ‘as many free ads as it needs’ to help disseminate legitimate information. 

It has also worked to remove false claims and conspiracies to ensure users aren’t misinformed about the virus and its risks including ads that try to exploit users by hawking face masks that advertise a ‘limited supply’ to boost sales. 


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