Facebook is cracking down on coronavirus misinformation

The social media giant will 'remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories' that have been flagged.

Jan 31, 2020, 9:09 am*

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Andrew Wyrich 

Andrew Wyrich

Facebook Coronavirus

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Facebook says it is trying to limit the spread of false information and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus on its platform and Instagram, the company announced in a blog post late Thursday.

The social media giant said in it will “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them” regarding the coronavirus.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency.

Part of their approach will be making sure claims of fake cures or prevention methods, or claims designed to discourage treatment, are removed. 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. Users can still share posts containing misinformation, although they may be subject to removal.

“We will also block or restrict hashtags used to spread misinformation on Instagram, and are conducting proactive sweeps to find and remove as much of this content as we can,” Kang-Xing Jin, the head of health at Facebook, wrote in the blog post.

Other tech giants have also begun trying to limit the spread of false information about coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Twitter said that while it has not seen “significant coordinated attempts to spread disinformation at scale about this issue,” they will “remain vigilant and have invested significantly in our proactive abilities to ensure trends, search, and other common areas of the service are protected from malicious behaviors.”

Twitter added that when users search for coronavirus, they will see “credible, authoritative information first.”

Searches for coronavirus on Twitter now bring up a link to the Center for Disease Control under the heading “know the facts.”

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*First Published: Jan 31, 2020, 9:06 am