WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Misinformation and rumors about the coronavirus are rampant in social media.
- Facebook plans to help stop this spread by sending messages to users who interacted with posts that were found to be fake or misleading.
- The company is teaming up with different organizations around the globe to fact-check coronavirus-related posts.
Conspiracy theories and misinformation has swirled in social media along with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.
To help put a stop to the spread of misinformation, Facebook will soon be sending messages to users that liked, commented, or reacted to posts with harmful misinformation that was removed by moderators. They will also direct people to information regarding myths about the virus that the World Health Organization has debunked.
Aside from that, the company has banned fake ads that promote coronavirus treatments and cures. People around the world are still racing to develop a vaccine.
False claims and other harmful information about the virus still pop up every day, gaining thousands of views, and Facebook is partnering with news organizations worldwide to provide fact-checking. Part of that program is the Associated Press.
The spread of false information has proven deadly. Last month in Iran, toxic alcohol rumored to cure the virus, methanol, caused the death of over 300 people and made 1,000 people ill.
Chloroquine phosphate, a product sometimes mistaken as the anti-malaria drug chloroquine, also caused the death of a man in Arizona. Though President Trump touted the drug as a “miracle cure” for COVID-19, health officials warned that chloroquine hasn’t been proven effective or even safe for coronavirus treatment.
When fact-checkers find false misleading articles, posts, and videos, Facebook marks them with warning labels. Thursday, the company announced around 95% of users are stopped from viewing information because of the warning labels. In March alone, it was able to mark 40 million coronavirus-related posts thanks to fact-checkers that produced roughly 4,000 articles.