As the Russian aggression on Ukraine continues, tech majors also are rallying in support for Ukraine, shutting down sales, services and more. Now, Meta owned Instagram has started hiding the follower information for private accounts in Russia and Ukraine. Also Read - Facebook parent company Meta received 55,497 requests for user data from Indian government
Meta announced the change via a blog post stating that it is “hiding information about people’s followers, who they’re following, and people who are following each other for private accounts based in these two countries.” This decision has been made to help cut down the spread of misinformation, and to keep people in Ukraine and Russia safe. Also Read - Meta says it got 55,497 requests from Indian govt for user data
The company has also started highlighting various tools like Your Activity and Download Your Information to users in both countries. These features will allow people to bulk delete content they’ve posted and download a copy of all their Instagram data locally. Also Read - Meta introduces new privacy updates for teens on Instagram, Facebook
Apart from this, the company also announced the rollout of new labels which users will see in Stories with a link sticker pointing to a Russian state-controlled media website. The label will be placed lower in the Stories tray letting people know that these lead to Russian state-controlled media websites.
All of these changes are in addition to the steps already announced by the social media conglomerate, where it is demoting content from accounts run by Russian state-controlled media making it harder to find. It is also showcasing users a notice before they reshare content from these accounts in their Stories. The company has also claimed to not be recommending posts from Russian state-controlled media accounts in Explore and Reels, while also making such accounts much harder to find in Search.
Similar steps were taken by Facebook, which the Russian government has already blocked access to in the country. Instagram is also taking the same path and is risking being blocked by the government as well.