Facebook to fight COVID-19 misinformation directly with notifications to users
Facebook is rolling out a new notification screen globally that will give users more context about the COVID-19 related articles that they share on its social media platforms. The notification will inform users when the article was first shared and its source. This is a part of Facebook’s efforts to combat rampant misinformation around the novel coronavirus. The notification will also direct users to Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center, where they can access genuine information about the virus from global health authorities.
Facebook will now send notifications directly to users who like, share, or comment on COVID-19 posts that violate the terms of services of the company. Users who like, share, or comment on the removed post with COVID-19 misinformation will also receive notifications from Facebook.
This new feature works in this way, if a user interacts with a post that’s later removed, Facebook sends a notification to the user telling them that the post was taken down. If the user clicks the notification, they’ll be taken to a landing page with a screenshot of the post and a short explanation for why it was removed. The landing page will also feature links to the pandemic’s educational resources and actions, like unfollowing the group that was behind posting it.
Facebook also displayed a banner on the news feed, urging users engaging with content that had been removed, but users were often confused at what the banner was referring to.
Facebook said that content posted by recognized government health authorities and organizations like the World Health Organization would be exempt from this notification feature so that the spread of credible information from health authorities isn’t slowed down.
Facebook has been slow to act on misinformation. Despite the fact that conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines have spread for months, Facebook only began removing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation in December.
Facebook says that the aim of providing direct notifications to users was to make sure that people have the context they needed to make informed decisions about what to share on the social networking platform about COVID-19. The notification, according to Facebook, would help people understand the source of the content before they share it. Facebook announced the feature last month and now, it has been made available to everyone.
As per the data released earlier this week, Facebook said it removed seven million posts during the second quarter for sharing false information about coronavirus, including content that promoted fake preventative measures and exaggerated its cures. In a first, Facebook took down a post by US President Donald Trump for violating its rules against misinformation about the coronavirus.