Facebook to inform users who liked, reacted on harmful COVID-19 content

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San Francisco– Facebook on Monday announced to inform millions of its users who have interacted with harmful COVID-19 claims on its platform, by showing messages in their News Feed in the coming weeks.

People who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that Facebook have since removed will have such messages landing in their News Feed – connecting them to COVID-19 myths debunked by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the company said in a statement.

“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,” said Guy Rosen, VP Integrity at Facebook.

The company said that in March, it displayed warnings on about 40 million posts related to COVID-19 on Facebook, based on around 4,000 articles by its independent fact-checking partners.

“When people saw those warning labels, 95 per cent of the time they did not go on to view the original content. To date, we’ve also removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm,” Rosen elaborated.

Examples of misinformation Facebook include harmful claims like drinking bleach cures the virus and theories like physical distancing is ineffective in preventing the disease from spreading.

Facebook said it has directed over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other health authorities through its COVID-19 Information Center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram with over 350 million people clicking through to learn more.

“Stopping the spread of misinformation and harmful content about COVID-19 on our apps is also critically important. That’s why we work with over 60 fact-checking organizations that review and rate content in more than 50 languages around the world,” said Rosen.

The company recently announced the first round of recipients of our $1 million grant program in partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network.

“We’ve given grants to 13 fact-checking organizations around the world to support projects in Italy, Spain, Colombia, India, the Republic of Congo, and other nations. We will announce additional recipients in the coming weeks,” Rosen informed. (IANS)

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