According to Johns Hopkins University, the total number of people infected with coronavirus has reached 1,699,490, with the total number of deaths mounting up to 102,800.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed a spotlight on individuals working tirelessly to provide healthcare under challenging circumstances. This has led many social media platforms to express their appreciation for workers who are risking their lives to keep their communities safe.
Last month, Instagram launched a new sticker to thank health workers. Instagram announced the launching through Twitter, writing “To thank the health workers who have been working tirelessly to keep their communities safe, we developed a sticker for people to show their gratitude on Instagram. This will be available in the stickers gallery.”
How to add this sticker to your Instagram story
- Open the Instagram app.
- Tap the camera icon in the top left corner.
- Take a photo or video or choose one from your camera roll by tapping the photo in the bottom left corner.
- Scroll down to the sixth row of options and tap the ‘#Thanks Health Heroes’ sticker.
- Tap ‘Send To’ in the bottom right corner after repositioning and resizing the sticker as you wish.
- Add the photo or video to Your Story or share it with friends by typing their name in the search bar.
A new initiative by Instagram
Now Instagram has launched a new ‘Thank You Hour’ initiative.
The ‘Thank You Hour’ sticker will be available to add to stories that showcase the different things people feel appreciative of during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As explained by Instagram:
“Today we’re launching Thank You Hour, a sticker in stories that lets you show gratitude for what’s helping you through this time. Use the sticker and your photo or video will be added to a shared Instagram story at 7 p.m. your time, where friends can see your thanks.”
By adding the sticker, the story will be shown to all of the user’s connections in the new shared Thank You Hour Story, which will be made available at 7 pm local time every day.
This sticker is the latest addition in Instagram’s collection of cause-related stickers designed to provide additional ways of engagement around certain issues like the recent Stay Home sticker.
Instagram’s response amid COVID-19
In addition to the “Thanks Health Heroes” sticker, the “’Thank You Hour” initiative, and the “Stay Home” sticker, Instagram has taken several additional steps to help people access accurate information, stay safe, and stay connected as mentioned in their blog post on the 24th of March, 2020.
Since the declaration of Coronavirus as a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Instagram has worked to include more educational resources in its search and has added stickers to promote accurate information. The platform has also removed COVID-19 accounts from recommendations unless posted by a credible health organisation. In addition to that, Instagram has rolled out the donation stickers in additional countries and is helping people reach out to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that need support. Furthermore, Instagram has launched a new way to browse the platform with friends over video chat.
Here is a quick look at what Instagram has done to enable its users to access accurate information and to keep the community safe.
Accessing Accurate Information
Users searching for coronavirus related information will begin seeing an educational message that will connect them to resources like the WHO and local health ministries.
New stickers which include reminders to wash one’s hands, keep a distance from others and more will also help users share accurate COVID-19 information in Stories
Keeping the Community Safe
Instagram is also making several changes to reduce the spread of misinformation.
In addition to removing COVID-19 accounts from account recommendations as mentioned before, Instagram is working to remove some COVID-19 related content from Explore, unless posted by a credible health organisation.
The platform will also downrank content in feed and Stories that have been rated false by third-party fact-checkers.
As an aim to prevent people from exploiting public health emergencies, Instagram already put several new policies into effect. It has prohibited misleading ads for products that refer to COVID-19. Prohibited ads are those aiming at creating urgency, or r marketing products guaranteeing cures or contraction prevention. In the meantime, Instagram has also banned branded content and ads promoting medical supplies, including face masks.
Furthermore, Instagram removed the ability to search for COVID-19 related augmented reality (AR) effects unless they were developed in partnership with a recognised health organisation.
The significance of Instagram’s response
Because the medical evidence suggests that the coronavirus only poses a major health risk for the elderly or people with pre-existing conditions, some younger people may ignore taking precaution measures, as they falsely assume themselves to be immune against the virus. However, many people who have contacted the virus and might be already spreading it to others appear to be asymptomatic.
This poses a major problem for containment, which makes it crucial for all people, despite their age group and other health conditions, to maintain social distancing and quarantine measures as advised by public health experts.
Here comes the important role Instagram plays along with other similar apps.
Since the majority of Instagram users are under the age of 34, they are considered to be among the groups who don’t perceive COVID-19 to be a significant threat. Instagram is playing a major role in reinforcing key messages, by providing a space for users to share their personal experiences and to call on each to participate in mitigation efforts. These messages may be more effective in reaching certain age groups, as they are coming from people they know and trust, as opposed to receiving more abstract messages from health authorities or governments.
While it may seem like a relatively small measure, socially reinforced messaging, such as those that show friends participating has been shown by research to bear significant influence, as it prompts increased action as a result.
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