Instragram just made some big coronavirus changes: This is why

When dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19, accuracy in the information that's put out there is important. Unfortunately, social media has proven that it can be a hotbed for inaccurate information to spread like wild fire, and today, Instagram announced some new measures to help ensure that doesn't happen. At the same time, it's giving users the ability to easily urge friends and followers to stay home while we wait for the outbreak to play out.

In a lengthy blog post today, Instagram announced these new measures, the most significant of which is a new in-search educational message that will appear when users search for posts related to coronavirus and COVID-19. That message will point people to the World Health Organization's website for more information on the pandemic. Instagram says that it'll have this feature rolled out globally in the coming weeks.

In addition, Instagram is rolling out new stickers that users can put in their Stories to remind friends and followers to wash their hands, distance themselves from others, or stay home. In the case of the stay home sticker, followed accounts that use it will be added to a shared Story, allowing you to watch a collection of clips that shows you how other people are practicing social distancing and self-isolation.

The company also said that it will begin cracking down on COVID-19 posts and related accounts in an effort to keep the Instagram community safe. Measures that Instagram is taking including removing COVID-19 account recommendations and some COVID-19 posts from Explore, unless those posts were made by credible health organizations. As always, posts that are rated false by fact-checkers will be removed from Explore and their related hashtag pages, while ads for bogus COVID-19 cures or certain medical supplies will be pulled.

Finally, Instagram has launched a new feature called Co-Watching, which lets users view Instagram posts with others through video chats. It's also making its donation sticker available in additional countries, and when people tap that sticker when they see it in Stories, they'll be taken to a page that lists non-profits with a new section for companies looking to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. Many of these features are going live in the coming days or weeks, and you can read more about them in the blog post linked above.