Facebook Blocking Coronavirus Hoaxes and Misinformation

The social media giant is is taking a firm stand and supporting the WHO

Why This Matters

Perhaps for the first time, Facebook's position as a truly global social media platform is paying dividends, as it actively blocks Coronavirus hoaxes and things like ads for fake cures. It's clearly learned its Fake News lesson and is now working to make sure it's part of the solution, not the Coronavirus problem.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to speak at a news conference at Facebook headquarters
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook is not messing around when it comes to Coronavirus information on its social media platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a number of sweeping initiatives and policies for managing and curating the flow of Coronavirus-related information on Facebook. "We're focused on making sure everyone can access credible and accurate information," Zuckerberg wrote. The update comes just a week after Facebook cancelled its F8 developers conference over Coronavirus fears.

What Facebook is doing: Facebook is now coordinating its efforts with the World Health Organization (WHO). Among the Coronavirus-related initiatives:

  • Coronavirus searches will launch a popup linking to the WHO.
  • The WHO is getting unlimited free ads to support its response.
  • Facebook is stopping hoaxes and misinformation.
  • Facebook is flagging conspiracy theories and false claims.
  • Ads that claim to cure Coronavirus are blocked.

Can they do more? Zuckerberg's own Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has been working with the Gates Foundation (Bill Gates) in the quest for a cure. This includes sequencing the full genome of the virus that causes COVID-19 (the other name for the novel Coronavirus).

A Good Reason to Use Facebook: In the post, Zuckerberg seems to indicate there's an obvious benefit to staying connected in times like this, when we may not be able to travel or see people in person, noting the need to keep Facebook stable and reliable. He added, "In times of crisis people rely on communication tools even more than usual."

Bottom Line: Facebook, the social media tool you love to hate is now potentially a useful platform for factual information about the still-spreading Coronavirus and, maybe, one of the best ways to stay connected to an increasingly quarantined world.

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