On Thursday, Facebook Inc. said it would start notifying users who had fake posts about COVID-19 that could lead to physical harm, such as drinking bleach to cure the virus and linking them to correct details. The social networking giant, which also operates the Instagram photo-sharing network and WhatsApp messaging app, said it was battling to monitor huge amounts of misinformation such as reports that say physical distancing won’t curb the illness.
Facebook has taken an unusually hostile position on false coronavirus messages, with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg stating that hoaxes about the virus present more of a danger to users than political untruths which it usually allows. The pandemic has killed more than 136,000 people worldwide and infected over 2 million people, although many countries are calling for strict lockdowns to avoid further spread.
Facebook said it took down hundreds of thousands of misleading posts that could be malicious and warned of another 40 million bogus virus-related statements in March, without deleting them.
The new warning is a concession to critics. It is to have long called on Facebook to “correct the record” by asking users about posts. It eventually removes or marks as fake. The company previously opposed those initiatives, claiming that unwittingly accelerating their spread by attracting attention to questionable claims might.
50% Fake News Report on Social Media
The updates, which will begin appearing in the weeks to come. It will guide users to a list of popular virus myths about the World Health Organization. Also, enable them to “help friends and family avoid false facts,” Facebook said. The warnings will not notify users that they are getting the nudge. It is because they have previously liked, responded or commented on false posts. Also, nor will they be debunking any particular argument.
Advocacy group AVAAZ, which pushed the initiative to “correct the record,” called the change a “first step”.
It said that direct corrections might reduce the number of people. It is on those who believe fake news reports on social media by 50 per cent.
Vera Jourova, the European Commissioner for Principles and Openness, welcomed the new steps. But he said it also needed to do more.