Instagram warns users who share Russian state media

Instagram is warming users who share Russian state media in stories, to dampen Russian government propaganda and protect user privacy in Ukraine and Russia.

Posts will be downranking from Russian state-affiliated media by the government, placing any stories from those outlets below other content from other sources. Users who go to share stories originating with any of these accounts will now see a pop-up message cautioning them against spreading “Russia state-controlled media.”

The message reads, “Instagram believes the account that created this post may be partially or wholly under the editorial control of the Russian government.”

Content from Russian state-linked accounts will no longer appear in Instagram’s algorithmically populated discovery areas, like Reels and the discovery tab. Instagram says that it also won’t show up as readily in search either. Also, Users who share stories with link stickers pointing to domains associated with Russian state media will get the same treatment.

These efforts from Instagram to stem the flow of state-backed disinformation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine come after Facebook’s announced last week that it would similarly attempt to bury Russian state media through the use of warning labels and downranking. At the time, Meta Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said the labels were on the way “in the days ahead.”

Instagram also added a new privacy measure for some users in Ukraine and Russia. Private accounts based in those countries will have their following, follower lists private, and their mutual friend lists hidden, which adds a layer of protection that obscures real-life social connections.

Also, Instagram and Meta announced that it would make it easy for accounts in those countries to bulk delete content and activity by making encrypted DMs available to all adult users in Ukraine and Russia.

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