On Tuesday, Instagram, the social media platform for sharing photos purchased by Facebook in 2012, mistakenly notified users with the message “Tomorrow is election day is tomorrow,” even though personal voting for national elections will be completed by Tuesday evening in most states.
Although the message allegedly only affected a small group of users, it alarmed users who notified the company. Instagram told Bloomberg News that the message was not displayed correctly due to a technical problem caused by caching, the storage of stored data on some smartphone apps.
“While we turned off the ‘Tomorrow is Election Day’ message last night, it was cached for a small group of people when their app had not been restarted,” Instagram said in a statement. “It will resolve itself when people restart. Today, people will put ‘It’s the Last Day to Vote’ at the top of the feed.
With over 112.5 million users in the US alone, it is unclear how many users saw the wrong information on Election Day. Some users watched the news until 13:45 ET, according to the technical news website Protocol.
Numerous Twitter commentators complained that users rarely restart the app on their phone, especially when it is used regularly, and added that the app should have explicitly stated the day and date of the election instead of “tomorrow”. Washington Newsday asked Instagram for a comment.
Before Tuesday, Instagram was trying to prevent the spread of misinformation and the abuse of its platform during the national elections.
On October 29, Instagram announced that it would indefinitely stop displaying the hashtags that have recently come into fashion.
“Recently published posts of all hashtags will be temporarily hidden to prevent the spread of possible false information and harmful content related to the election,” it now says in the section on recently developed hashtags.
In October, Guy Rosen, Vice President for Integrity at Facebook, also spoke about how Facebook and Instagram would deal with any presidential candidate who declared victory before the race was officially declared.
“If a candidate or party declares an early victory before the race is officially declared by the major media, we will add more specific information in the notifications that the counting is still going on and no winner has been determined,” Rosen said.
“If the candidate declared the winner by the mainstream media is challenged by another candidate or party, we will display the declared winning candidate’s name with notifications at the top of Facebook and Instagram, as well as the candidates’ stickers with the declared winner’s name and a link to the polling center,” Rosen continued.