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Facebook to give ‘WHO as many free ads as they need’ for coronavirus response

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged Tuesday that his company would help the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies with free ads to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a post Tuesday evening, Zuckerberg wrote that his company was “focused on making sure everyone can access credible and accurate information” amid fears of an outbreak worsening in the U.S.

“This is critical in any emergency, but it’s especially important when there are precautions you can take to reduce the risk of infection,” Zuckerberg wrote. “If you search for coronavirus on Facebook, you’ll see a pop-up that directs you to the World Health Organization or your local health authority for the latest information.”

“We’re giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support,” he continued. “We’ll also give support and millions more in ad credits to other organizations too and we’ll be working closely with global health experts to provide additional help if needed.” 

The company has also vowed in recent weeks to step up efforts to crack down on misinformation about the coronavirus on its platform.

Facebook’s ad policies have also faced criticism, particularly from Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), for allowing political candidates to host ads on its platform that contain false or misleading content. Those ads, though, will be flagged with warnings from Facebook’s team of independent fact-checkers.

Zuckerberg himself has defended the criticism during testimony on Capitol Hill, calling it necessary to preserve free speech on his platform.

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