The project investigated the labels used on social media platforms to highlight sensitive information, specifically during Covid-19. The labels were placed on posts that may contain information about the pandemic. The labels were written as “Visit the COVID-19 Information Center” or “Visit the COVID-19 Information Center for vaccine resources”.
The project investigated how or if people notice and/or interact with these labels, and if the responsibility lies with the user or the social media platform in reducing the spread of false information online.
Based on an analysis of the spread of information, the effectiveness of the designs, comparisons of social media platforms and the identification of the responsibilities of the users compared amongst these social media platforms, the project identified some issues. For example, the Instagram labels are too general and lack interaction, notability and recollection. Instagram also lacks key features such as the ability to share links within comments or posts to sources or credible information.
Other leading social media platforms lack contemporary design methods such as the ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ features present (or being trialled) on other social media platforms such as Reddit, TikTok and Twitter. This research argues that such labels have ineffective design, while also questioning what is the best approach to tackle the spread of disinformation online during COVID-19 and also for future worldwide crises.