Facebook Begins Warning Users Who Interacted With Misinformation About Covid-19

95% of people who saw labels did not continue on and read the content

Facebook directed over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other authorities Facebook
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Facebook revealed two new steps it is taking to stop the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic on its platform.

People who liked, reacted to or commented on harmful information about Covid-19 that was eventually removed from the platform will see a message atop their News Feed guiding them to a list of coronavirus-related myths that were debunked by the World Health Organization, including those removed by Facebook due to the potential of imminent physical harm.

Facebook vice president of integrity Guy Rosen said in a Newsroom post, “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. People will start seeing these messages in the coming weeks.”

Facebook

Rosen added that once Facebook’s third-party fact-checking partners rate a piece of content as false, its distribution is reduced and warning labels with more context are added, and similarity detection methods are triggered to identify duplicates of debunked stories.

Facebook displayed warnings on roughly 40 million posts on the social network related to Covid-19 in March, based on some 4,000 articles identified by its fact-checking partners. Rosen said that when warning labels were attached, 95% of users did not proceed with viewing the content.

The social network also removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm, such as claims about drinking bleach curing the virus and that social distancing is ineffective.

The social network also added a new Get the Facts section to its Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information Center.

Get the Facts includes fact-checked articles selected by Facebook’s news curation team and updated every week, debunking misinformation about the coronavirus.

The new section is currently available in the U.S., and it will be added to the Facebook News tab in the U.S., as well.

Facebook

Rosen said that to date, Facebook has directed over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other health authorities via its Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information Center and popups on Facebook and Instagram, and more than 350 million people clicked through to learn more.

He added that eight new third-party fact-checking partners are on board, including Deutsche Presse Agentur in the Netherlands, MyGoPen in Taiwan and Reuters in the U.K.

Rosen concluded, “As this pandemic evolves, we’ll continue focusing on the most effective ways to keep misinformation and dangerous hoaxes about Covid-19 off our applications and ensure that people have credible information from health experts to stay safe and informed.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.