Facebook announced it would start to remove misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak from all of its platforms.
Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook Head of Health, said in a blog post late Thursday that their company would “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by local health authorities and leading global health organizations that could cause harm to people who believe them.”
Jin pointed misleading information about coronavirus, saying “This includes claims related to false cures or prevention techniques – like drinking bleach cures the virus – or claims that create confusions about health resources that are available.”
He said that Instagram would also ban or restrict hashtags and conduct “proactive sweeps” to take out the content spreading misleading information about the coronavirus.
The move appears after the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of a global health emergency over fears of fast-spreading Wuhan’s virus, which has killed more than 213 people in China, infecting nearly 9,809.
It’s not the first tech company to apply action over the outbreak; however, with Twitter and Google also taking initiatives to tackle misinformation about it.
Google, for now, has begun displaying information from the health authorities, including the WHO, about the epidemic in search results while its video-sharing platform YouTube has been set to promote videos on it from reliable sources.
Meanwhile, Twitter has also adjusted its search prompt to upraise information from “authoritative health sources” to the top of the page when visitors conduct searchers about the coronavirus outbreak.
Facebook has gotten into hot water regarding how it acts with health-related information in the past. The social media giant was condemned for failing to exclude anti-vaccination posts last year, instead opting to lower such content in the rankings of users’ feeds.
The tech platform in September announced a partnership with the WHO. Major intentions behind association aimed at steering people toward accurate vaccination details from the United Nations’ health agency.
Facebook’s latest initiative on countering misinformation comes amid intense regulatory scrutiny faced by the company, an issue that weighed heavily on its share price of late. The American tech company lost around $50 billion in market value this week after suffering a rise in expenses on the uphold of privacy and security updates.
The company revealed on Thursday that it would continue cooperating with independent fact-checkers to minimize the spread of any false claim about coronavirus and that it will instead show credible information on its platform.
Facebook officials signaled the company would also run educational pop-ups with “credible information” and share data with researchers to help them concluding a near-right forecast of the virus spread.
“Not all of these steps are entirely in place. It will take some time to roll them out across our platforms and improve our enforcement methods,” Jin said, and added that “We will offer updates on further steps we’re taking in coordination with worldwide and regional partners as the situation continues to evolve.”