Facebook to remove misinformation about coronavirus

Facebook to remove misinformation about coronavirus
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Facebook announced this week that it is working to limit the spread of misinformation about coronavirus on its platform, removing content with “false claims or conspiracy theories” and connecting users with accurate information about the virus. 

The social media giant said in a Thursday blog post that its third-party fact-checkers are reviewing content on Facebook and Instagram related to the virus. Facebook said that when information is rated as false, it limits its spread and shows users accurate information, in addition to sending users who have shared the content that it has been fact-checked.

“As the global public health community works to keep people safe, Facebook is supporting their work in several ways, most especially by working to limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus and connecting people to helpful information,” Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s head of health, said in the post.

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Facebook will also “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them,” according to the executive’s post. Facebook will remove false cures or treatments for the virus, specifically citing drinking bleach.

It will also block or restrict hashtags it finds are being used to spread misinformation.

The social media site has previously drawn criticism for refusing to remove political ads that contain false information.

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

When users search for information related to the virus on Facebook or search for a hashtag on Instagram, the platform will use a pop-up to share information about the virus, in addition to providing advertising credits for organizations to share credible information online.  

Social media users on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have already begun sharing incorrect information about coronavirus, its spread and how it started, The Washington Post reported. These posts received thousands of shares and views. 

The newspaper reported Monday that some misinformation on coronavirus was still being shared in private groups on Facebook started specifically to discuss the outbreak in China and its spread in other countries around the world.

Twitter employees Jun Chu and Jennifer McDonald said in a Wednesday blog post that the social media site has not seen “significant coordinated attempts to spread disinformation at scale about this issue.”

YouTube has not taken down all videos sharing false information about coronavirus, The Washington Post reported. However, the video giant is prioritizing accurate research when users search for the virus.