Facebook to alert users exposed to coronavirus misinformation

Facebook to alert users exposed to coronavirus misinformation
© getty

Facebook announced Thursday that it will begin notifying users who have interacted with misinformation about the novel coronavirus.

Users will receive a message in their newsfeed notifying them they have seen a since-deleted post and connecting them to a list of COVID-19 myths that have been debunked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

"We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook," the company's vice president of integrity, Guy Rosen, wrote in a blog post.

ADVERTISEMENT

The feature will begin working "in the coming weeks."

Facebook is also adding a new section to its coronavirus information center dedicated to vetted articles that focus on debunking misinformation.

The social media giant revealed Thursday that during March it applied warning labels on about 40 million posts related to the pandemic, based on roughly 4,000 articles reviewed by its third-party fact checkers.

When posts including those labels appeared on the news feed, users did not go on to view the original content in 95 percent of cases.

Conspiracy theories and unfounded claims about the virus, its origins and ways to combat it have surged on social media in recent months, causing what WHO has branded as an “infodemic.”

Social media platforms have taken several steps to limit the spread of harmful content about the virus while also elevating authoritative information.