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Facebook Takes New Steps to Curb the Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

Facebook has announced the next step that it’ll be taking to combat the spread of harmful hoaxes and misinformation about COVID-19 on its platforms. Through Facebook’s Newsfeed, users who interact with ill-informed claims will receive messages from the WHO debunking myths – this includes misinformation that has led to imminent physical harm.

This step aims to ensure that all users who may have interacted with fake news about the virus get the truth from authoritative sources in case they encounter these claims again on Facebook.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has tried to keep users connected to accurate information from health experts. These efforts have seen the company direct over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other health authorities through its COVID-19 Information Center.

The company has also partnered with over 60 third-party fact-checking organisations worldwide, spanning across 50 languages. The programme continues to grow to add more partners and languages.

Once a piece of content is rated false by fact-checkers, Facebook reduces its distribution and shows warning labels with more context. During the month of March, Facebook displayed warnings on about 40 million posts, based on around 4,000 articles by its independent fact-checking partners.

To support the work of its third-party fact-checking partners, Facebook recently announced the first round of recipients of its $1 million grant programme in partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network.

Facebook has also given grants to 13 third-party fact-checking organisations around the world to support projects in Italy, Spain, India, the Republic of Congo, and other nations. Additional recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

Edited by Jenna Delport
Follow Jenna Delport on Twitter

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