Facebook is stepping up its efforts to combat misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The company has rolled out a number of features and initiatives to stop the spread of misinformation including pinning government public health warnings to the top of people’s news feeds.
The giant social media network has also partnered up with the Kenyan government to share coronavirus facts via its messaging app, WhatsApp and launched COVID-19 information centre in Kenya and 16 other African countries.
Facebook reports that these measures have led to 350 million people worldwide clicking through to authoritative sources in search of accurate information.
Even with all these moves, misinformation still finds its way into people’s news feeds who engage with it.
https://t.co/eeMOdOZI7A Damning report by @Avaaz on Facebook's failure to combat virus misinformation effectively – "It can take up to 22 days for the platform to downgrade and issue warning labels on false content"
— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) April 16, 2020
In March, Facebook issued warnings on about 40 million posts deemed false by Facebook’s fact-checking partners, according to Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen, adding that users who saw those warning labels rarely clicked through to the original content. Facebook has removed hundreds of thousands of posts with misinformation that “could lead to imminent physical harm,” Rosen added.
Facebook will now add anti-misinformation messages in the news feeds of users who recently engaged with fake coronavirus news by liking, reacting or commented to that post that Facebook later removed.
There will now be a box that encourages them to visit the World Health Organization website.
Another feature Facebook is launching is a “Get the Facts” section full of verified news about the pandemic.
“Through this crisis, one of my top priorities is making sure that you see accurate and authoritative information across all of our apps,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive in a post which he shared on his page.
“Facebook, given its scale, is the epicenter for misinformation,” Fadi Quran, Avaaz’s campaign director, told POLITICO, adding the company’s efforts to combat the problem had steadily improved since the social network announced it would do all it could to stop the spread of such life-threatening falsehoods.
Facebook do you know what ELSE you could do? https://t.co/qWvZ3lNGiS
— erin mccann | (@mccanner) April 16, 2020