Instagram tests ‘re-share’ label in effort to spur engagement

is experimenting with offering users new ways to promote other people’s content on the photo-sharing network – a push that could boost but open the door to more viral misinformation.

The Facebook Inc unit said Tuesday it will give account holders the option to add a “re-share” sticker on top of their Instagram stories, ephemeral posts of annotated photos and videos. Adding the will allow people to see a list of posts they have viewed in the last hour, saved or posted themselves.

Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product, said in an interview that the company is trying to make reposted content more interesting to audiences, who typically prefer to see original posts in Instagram stories. Late last year, the company tested disabling the ability to re-share posts on Instagram stories altogether.

“We think re-shares are important,” Shah said. “We think they should still exist but we think people should be really deliberate about when they use them.”

Last month, Instagram also announced it was experimenting with giving more users the ability to add links to their stories. Under the current rules, only users with verified accounts, business pages or high follower numbers have the ability to post links in their stories. Other users can post links in their bios.

Adding links could also create more opportunities for Facebook and Instagram to be used to spread misinformation. During the pandemic, social media influencers spread doubt about the Covid-19 vaccines for a full year before Facebook took significant action. Coronavirus disinformation was particularly pronounced on the social media sites, where posts that spark emotions have a better chance of being seen by more users.

Facebook has started to take stronger measures against Covid-19 misinformation. In May, the company said it removed more than 18 million posts on its main social networking site and Instagram for violating its Covid-19 misinformation policy.

Shah said the company will evaluate the spread of misinformation as it tests the new feature.

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