Facebook sets out battle plan against coronavirus fake news


The effort to remove false information about the new coronavirus is an extension of Facebook's current policies that aim to remove content that could cause physical harm on Facebook and Instagram, it said. When users search for related terms on Facebook or Instagram, it will show a pop-up with credible information.

Claims about fake cures and other misinformation about the new coronavirus will be removed by Facebook, says the company's head of health, Kang-Xing Jin. According to reports, the company said that it will take down all information deemed false by global health organizations and health authorities on a local level.

A handful of social media giants, which have long faced backlash for the spread of misinformation online, have announced steps to combat false cures, conspiracy theories and more about the outbreak on their platforms.

Facebook is putting prompts and modules in its News Feed that are created to steer users to accurate information, and it is also taking guidance from the WHO.

The coronavirus, which as Wired reports has infected over 9,700 people in mainland China and nearly 100 people in 18 other countries, originated from a Wuhan seafood market where wild animals are traded illegally. People will be able to get relevant and up-to-date information through messages on top of Facebook's News Feed. The measures occur after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus on Thursday public health emergency of worldwide interest.

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Google announced a similar move Thursday, saying it was working in partnership with the World Health Organization to make resources about coronavirus more "easily accessible".

Seeing this, both Facebook, Google and Twitter have made a decision to jump the gun and curb the spread of misinformation.

A company spokesperson told CNN Business earlier this week that it had not seen a coordinated increase in disinformation related to the virus, but would "remain vigilant" on the issue.

The company is also blocking or restricting hashtags aimed at spreading misinformation relating to the virus. The company said it will also alert users who have previously shared content about the coronavirus that its third-party fact-checkers have found to be false.