Kang-Xing Jin, the Facebook Head of Health claims to “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.” This is a great move on Facebook’s behalf as misinformation about the coronavirus is leading people into trying out dangerous ‘cures’.
How dangerous can misinformation get?
Most of the time, misinformation spreads faster than actual facts. People tend to believe them which results in more clicks. Thus, social networking sites lift such myths higher up when users search about the coronavirus. Misinformation includes, “claims related to false cures or prevention methods— like drinking bleach cure the coronavirus — or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available”. Such fake news is more dangerous than the actual outbreak since people can lose their lives trying out these incorrect preventive measures. Jin added that Instagram is also working on regulating hashtags regarding the same.
A change for the better
The policy change could be a result of Facebook receiving flak for failing to remove accurate anti-vaccination posts last year. Although the site’s global team of fact-checkers flag any misinformation getting uploaded, the falsehood continues to be shared in private groups. Hence, such posts are going to be removed once and for all. Now Facebook will promote accurate information on its platform and run educational pop-ups with “credible information”.
“We will help people get relevant and up-to-date information from partners through messages on top of News Feed on Facebook,” Jin said.
Moreover, their partnership with the WHO aims at steering users towards trustworthy information.
Others are following suit…
The fast-spreading virus has already infected more than 9,809 people in China, killing 213. This led to a global health emergency declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, other social networking sites are doing their part in tackling misinformation. Google displays coronavirus-related information from the WHO in search results while YouTube is promoting videos only from credible sources. Also, Twitter is pushing information from “authoritative health sources” to the top whenever users search about the virus.
COMMENT your thoughts on this welcome change. Will Facebook shunning misinformation about the Coronavirus make a difference?