How An Outbreak Of Coronavirus AR Filters Is Contaminating Instagram With Misinformation

Facebook is cracking down on effects that claim to “predict, diagnose, treat or cure coronavirus.”

As COVID-19 continues its rampant spread across the globe—the World Health Organization recently declared it a global pandemic—many of us, VRScout included, find ourselves facing potentially-lengthy quarantines as more countries continue to enact stricter containment procedures. Naturally, many have taken advantage of the ensuing chaos to spread dangerous misinformation regarding the outbreak, including fake diagnoses and treatments.

In a statement released by Facebook earlier this week, the company revealed its own concerns regarding a new wave of AR filters and effects peddling false information on how to predict, diagnose, treat, and cure COVID-19, aka coronavirus.

Across Facebook we’re taking steps to limit misinformation and harmful content, and help connect people with accurate updates related to the coronavirus outbreak,” states the company in an update to its AR creators group. “Today, we wanted to let you know about new Spark AR changes we’re making to support this ongoing effort.”

Facebook goes on to detail its attack plan, which will begin with the removal of all pre-existing coronavirus related effects and any future submissions which claim to “predict, diagnose, treat, or cure coronavirus.” Moving forward, the company will prevent users from searching for COVID-19 related AR effects on Instagram” and will only allow submissions “developed in partnership with a recognized health organization.”

(Image Credit: Instagram, Facebook)

Facebook has been actively promoting coronavirus awareness these past few weeks, pushing COVID-19 related tips to the top of users’ feeds in an effort to help spread helpful information provided by the CDC. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced the creation of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which will see the company matching up to $10M in donations for organizations working to prevent the spread of the virus. The company will also match another $10M for the CDC Foundation, a fundraiser launching later this week in the US.   

Fellow social messaging app Snapchat has also faced its fair share of coronavirus misinformation spread via Snap Lenses. In addition to continuing its fight against fake news, the company also partnered with the World Health organization on an official Lens that highlights several tips for limiting the risk of exposure. 

Feature Image Credit: Instagram, Facebook

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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