Facebook updates on efforts towards battling COVID-19 misinformation

Social Samosa
Apr 29, 2020 04:06 IST
Facebook COVID-19

Facebook gives an update on its efforts to connect people with accurate information from health experts and keep misinformation about COVID-19 from spreading on the family of apps.

The platform claims to have directed over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other health authorities through our COVID-19 Information Center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram.

Once a piece of content is rated false by fact-checkers, the platform reduces its distribution and shows warning labels with more context. Based on one fact-check, they’re able to start similarity detection methods that identify duplicates of debunked stories.

For example, during the month of March, they displayed warnings on about 40 million posts related to COVID-19 on Facebook, based on around 4,000 articles by the independent fact-checking partners.

When people saw those warning labels, 95% of the time they did not go on to view the original content. To date, they’ve also removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm. Examples of misinformation they’ve removed include harmful claims like drinking bleach cures the virus and theories like physical distancing is ineffective in preventing the disease from spreading.

Facebook works with over 60 fact-checking organizations that review and rate content in more than 50 languages around the world. In the past month, they’ve continued to grow the program to add more partners and languages. 

To further support the work of the fact-checking partners during this time, they recently announced the first round of recipients of the grant program in partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network.

Also Read: Facebook launches Messenger Rooms

They’ve provided grants to 13 fact-checking organizations around the world to support projects in Italy, Spain, Colombia, India, the Republic of Congo, and other nations. They will announce additional recipients in the coming weeks.

They've also shared some additional steps being taken to combat COVID-19 related misinformation and make sure people have the accurate information they need to stay safe.

Informing People Who Interacted With Harmful COVID-19 Claims

The platform is going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted, or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19.

These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO including ones that have been removed from the platform for leading to imminent physical harm. Users will start seeing these messages in the coming weeks.  

Screenshot of a message directing people to debunked rumors about COVID-19 from the WHO

Making It Easier for People to Get the Facts

To make it easier for people to find accurate information about COVID-19, Facebook recently added a new section to the COVID-19 Information Center called Get the Facts. It includes fact-checked articles from their partners that debunk misinformation about the coronavirus. The fact-check articles are selected by the News curation team and updated every week. This is now available in the US, and will soon be added to Facebook News in the US as well.  

Screenshot of Get the Facts
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