Instagram cracks down on coronavirus AR effects

Instagram is attempting to stop the spread of misinformation about the novel coronavirus pandemic that’s surfacing through its augmented reality effects. In an update to its AR creators Facebook group, the company wrote that it has removed already-published AR effects and will reject any pending requests for effects that claim to “predict, diagnose, treat, or cure coronavirus.” It’s also not allowing users to search for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, AR effects on Instagram unless they were developed with a “recognized health organization.”

Certain offending filters have quizzed users on whether they have the virus or directly referenced panic-buying because of the pandemic. Beyond its AR effects, Instagram also directs people to reputable sources of information about the virus when they search certain hashtags. In January, it started blocking and restricting hashtags that spread misinformation and began removing posts that advertised fake cures or prevention methods.

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