Instagram is temporarily removing the Recent tab from hashtag searches for users in the US. With this measure in place, the platform aims to slow the spread of misinformation ahead of the 2020 US presidential election.
Instagram Does Away With Recent Posts
Instagram has made the Recent tab vanish from the apps of users across the US.
To get to this tab, you’d have to type a topic in the search bar on the Explore page, and then click Tags. You’d then see two tabs at the top of the feed: Top and Recent.
Click on the Recent tab, and Instagram would display a feed of the most recent posts that share the same hashtag.
Now, when you conduct a hashtag search, you’ll see a notification at the top of your screen. This message takes the place of both the Top and Recent tabs. By default, the feed only displays the Top posts in that hashtag.
Instagram explains the removal of the Recent tab in the message, stating:
Recent posts from all hashtags are temporarily hidden to prevent the spread of possible false information and harmful content related to the election.
Click on the Learn More button in the notification, and you’ll be redirected to an Instagram Help page that further explains the removal. According to the explanation, “Instagram is committed to reducing the spread of false information,” which contributed to the change.
Instagram also took to Twitter to announce the removal of the Recent section. A Tweet by Instagram Comms revealed that the platform is “making changes to make it harder for people to come across possible misinformation on Instagram.”
Starting today, for people in the U.S. we will temporarily remove the “Recent” tab from hashtag pages. We’re doing this to reduce the real-time spread of potentially harmful content that could pop up around the election.
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) October 29, 2020
It also stated that Instagram is tightening restrictions on the app “to reduce the real-time spread of potentially harmful content that could pop up around the election.”
Since Instagram did away with the Recent tab, we’ll have to deal with the fact that we can no longer see the latest posts in our favored hashtag—Top posts will have to suffice for now.
This change is likely due to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s concern over Election Day chaos. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has already promised to restrict content on Election Day if needed.
That said, Instagram’s removal of the Recent tab only forbodes even stricter measurements that could be put in place during and after Election Day.
Slowing Down Communication
By eliminating the Recent tab, Instagram isn’t just slowing the spread of misinformation, but it’s also making it harder to find new content on the platform. This slows down communication as a whole.
Instagram and Facebook aren’t the only social media platforms taking jabs at misinformation. Twitter is fighting the same battle, and has even rolled out measures to discourage Retweeting.