Instagram rolls out a video chat feature to promote social distancing

Stay at home! This is a key message, which, evidently, is not being taken seriously by some, not heeding the many official warnings. The COVID-19 death toll continues to ramp up day-by-day, and yet many people are still going out to gatherings, living their lives as they normally would.

This week, Instagram has announced a feature that lets users browse the app with friends over video chat in order to encourage people to stay inside amid the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. Isolation may be boring but the Facebook-owned company is giving users more ways to entertain themselves.  The feature is called Co-Watching, which will give Instagram users a new way to browse the app over video chat with up to six friends at a time. The feature can be accessed by starting a video chat through the Instagram Direct messaging tab and tapping the photo icon in the bottom left of the video chat screen. It lets you look at saved, like, and recommended posts together as a group.

Along with this feature, the company also announced plans to expand the number of educational resources the app shows in its search results and will remove all contents related to COVID-19 unless it is posted by a credible health organization. Facebook and other tech companies have been proactive in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook banned ads for medical face masks, hand sanitizer and COVID-19 test kits that could be scams. It seems like a relatively minor addition. But seeing others show their support for such causes could help encourage further engagement - and ideally, in this case, personal action as well.    

Source: The Verge
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