Facebook sets out a coronavirus misinformation battle plan

Misinformation has become a concern amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, with many on social media urging for users to stop spreading unverified information.

With something as serious as the coronavirus happening, it's important to know what news is legit or fake.

Seeing this, both Facebook, Google and Twitter have chose to jump the gun and curb the spread of misinformation. When searching for the virus, top search results will direct users towards the World Health Organization website for information. The alert will be the top thing anyone searching for "coronavirus" sees, offering safety tips and the latest updates from the WHO.

Google has also donated $250,000 to the Chinese Red Cross in order to help with the efforts and has raised over $800,000 from Googlers.

The company will also limit the spread of posts debunked by its third-party fact checkers, and sent users who shared the post a notification. The company said it specifically points to content from trusted users, such as public health experts or news outlets, in search results or panels that suggest which videos to watch next.

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Facebook says it's working to help limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the coronavirus and will focus on providing helpful information to people. 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.

One false post claiming that a coronavirus vaccine has been patented remained on Facebook for more than a week.

The campaign is running in 15 locations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia, and "will continue to expand as the need arises", the company said in a blog post.

"Given the rapidly evolving nature of the issue and the growing global response, we've launched a new dedicated search prompt to ensure that when you come to the service for information about the #coronavirus, you're met with credible, authoritative information first", the company added. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the individual and their ability to realise that every viral tweet or news is not necessarily true.

  • Ismael Montgomery