As part of its initiative to protect users’ privacy and dampen Russian government propaganda, Instagram announced Tuesday it would implement measures across Ukraine and Russia.
From now on, Google will downrank posts from state-affiliated media outlets, placing stories from those outlets lower than content from other sources. A pop-up message will now appear when users go to share stories originating from any of these accounts.
“Instagram believes this post may have originated from an account that is under the editorial control of the Russian government,” the message states.
Similar treatment will be extended to users who share stories with links pointing to domains associated with Russian state media. Instagram has also announced that Russia-related content will no longer appear in its algorithmically populated discovery areas, like the Reels and discovery tabs, as well as in its search engine.
Earlier this year, Instagram began its own parallel campaign to stem the flow of state-sponsored disinformation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The social media giant announced last week that it would use warning labels and downranking to bury Russian state-run media. According to Nathaniel Gleicher, our head of security policy at the time, labels were being developed “in the coming days.”
Some Instagram users based in Ukraine and Russia will also benefit from a new privacy measure. In these countries, the following and follower lists of private accounts will be private, and the mutual friend’s lists will be hidden, adding a layer of privacy and hiding the real-life connections between Facebook users.
As part of its earlier announcement, Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, will make direct encrypted messages available to all adult users in Ukraine and Russia as well as make bulk deletions easy