Story at a glance

  • Facebook has seen a spike in misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The company said it will take down false posts about the coronavirus that put people at risk.
  • The announcement comes as Facebook faces increasing pressure over the type of content posted on its platform.

Facebook said Wednesday it plans to tighten rules on advertisements that reference the deadly novel coronavirus, in an effort to curb misinformation about the outbreak. 

The social media network said it would ban ads for products offering cures or prevention from 

the coronavirus, as well as ads that attempt to create a sense of urgency, according to Business Insider.

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“We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention. We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider

Facebook is among other tech platforms dealing with an increase in misinformation related to the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 2,700 worldwide and infected more than 80,000 people. 

The social media giant uses fact-checkers to scrutinize suspicious claims to suppress them in its news feed. Last month, Facebook said it would remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by global health organizations and local health authorities. 

In addition to limiting or removing incorrect information, Facebook is directing users to groups like the World Health Organization by placing guidance at the top of users’ news feeds. 

Facebook has come under fire in recent months for allowing misinformation in political campaign ads. The social media giant said last month it will allow campaigns to micro target ads to small segments of the population and has defended its policy as an effort to promote free speech on the enormous platform.

Published on Feb 26, 2020