In the midst of precautionary isolation and social distancing due to COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram is set to release a new feature, Co-Watching, which will enable users to browse through posts with friends or family via in-app video chat. Users will be able to view liked, recommended and saved posts as a group.
To access the feature, users will have to start a video chat via the app’s Direct Messaging tab with up to 6 participants, and tap on the photo icon on the bottom left of the video chat screen to enable co-watching posts.
This new feature shows the platform’s efforts to keep people connected and entertained, while maintaining social distancing to contain the spread of coronavirus. Furthermore, Instagram has also been actively battling the spread of misinformation related to coronavirus on its platform by the introduction of new measures such as a new educational alert on top of the search results to connect users with World Health Organization resources, stickers to promote verifiable and authentic information from authorities and also promotion of healthy behavior like social distancing. These measures also include down-ranking of information which fails to meet the requirements of third-party fact-checkers from Instagram Feed and Stories, and moderation of information, and if required, removal of coronavirus related posts from the Explore tab. These new regulatory measures were recently added to Facebook’s and Instagram’s prevalent misinformation policy.
As a user, the new features and measures are perceived as preemptive constructive need of the hour, when the world, quite literally and figuratively, is at a standstill and people are confined to in their homes to fight a microscopic threat, coronavirus. Social networking platforms are playing an important role to keep people connected, entertained, and a medium to spread useful information and extend support. With that purpose in mind, Instagram is bringing healthy communication methods to its millions of daily users. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, celebrities, actors, influencers, and leaders are using the platform to share information, conduct encouraging live chat sessions and post daily quarantine routines.