Olivia Harvey
Updated Mar 24, 2020 @ 12:48 pm
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Credit: Instagram Comms, Twitter

It looks as though other social media platforms besides Netflix are getting on the “viewing party” bus amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Similar to Netflix’s Party Chrome extension, Instagram’s new feature called Co-Watching can help lessen the strain of social distancing. The feature lets you link your Instagram account to those of your friends so you can share posts and scroll while on video chat.

To use Co-Watching, you can begin a video chat through the Direct message tab. Then, once connected via video with one or several friends, you can tap the photo icon labelled “Posts” at the bottom right of your video screen. You can then access your saved, liked, and recommended posts and share them with your friends.

Co-Watching is just one of the ways Instagram is shifting its platform to help reduce physical interaction and encourage people to take precautions to stay home.

The company has also launched a “Stay Home” sticker that can be applied to any post within Instagram Stories, as well as a “Donation” sticker so that users can scroll through non-profit organizations that are striving to curb the spread of the virus.

Furthermore, Instagram is also tailoring the media on its platform to be more accurate. According to a March 24th Instagram blog post, “People who search for information related to coronavirus or COVID-19 on Instagram will start to see an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries,” the company writes. “We are working quickly to make this available globally over the coming weeks.”

Instagram also pledged to remove unverified COVID-19 accounts from its recommendations and from the Explore page in an effort to limit misinformation.

And misleading ads for products that “refer to COVID-19 in ways intended to create urgency, guarantee cures, or prevent people from contracting it” are also banned from the platform.

It’s important that we stay informed, practice social distancing and self-quarantining, and use video chat platforms like Co-Watching to hang out with friends during this time. Luckily, Instagram is on our side and is helping us make the most of a stressful situation.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, HelloGiggles is committed to providing accurate and helpful coverage to our readers. As such, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.