Facebook is into a latest attempt to help battle the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 misinformation.
This attempt involves a new notification screen that will provide more context about an article or other link, like when it was first shared and its source.
The company explained the move in a blog post saying, “Facebook will now show a new notification screen, which will offer more context about the article or link a user is about to share along with its source.”
The motive of Facebook is to help people understand the source and time of the content before they share it and to direct people to their COVID-19 Information Center to ensure people have access to credible information about COVID-19 from global health authorities. It builds on the platform’s existing notifications, which was launched in June to help cut down on the spread of older links that routinely resurface in ways leading to misinterpreting current events.
As for any other articles with information about Covid-19, users will get a pop-up screen that highlights all key details about the post. The top box will clearly state that this article talks about Covid-19 and show a link to Facebook’s Covid-19 information hub. The notification screen will also show the real source of the article, and when it was first shared on Facebook.
Facebook also said that this global notification screen will not appear if someone wants to post information shared by credible health authorities like World Health Organization (WHO) or government health organizations.
This new notification screen is part of all the ongoing measures that Facebook has been engaging into since March to prevent the social platform from becoming a channel for precarious coronavirus-related conspiracy theories and other forms of misinformation. During the onset of the pandemic, a few months back, the company began putting safe and evaluated coronavirus information from trusted health and medical authorities like WHO at the top of the News Feed, as well as the above-mentioned COVID-19 information hub.
Despite its efforts to uplift content from respected sources, Facebook has struggled to cram down viral misinformation about the pandemic. The company also revealed that it had removed 7 million posts about the coronavirus and added fact-checking labels to about 98 million.
Facebook started alerting users if the Covid-19 article they’re about to share is more than 90 days old. The pop-up screen reads “This article is over 3 months old”, and if people want to continue sharing it or not.
Yet Facebook needs to take more active measures to combat the fast-moving spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories placing anti-misinformation messages into the News Feeds of users who may have engaged with fake coronavirus information.