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Facebook to notify users who have interacted with harmful fake news

Posted on: April 17, 2020 by Mariella Brown

Facebook users who have engaged with posts that show harmful misinformation about Covid-19 will be sent notifications to address the spread of false information on the platform.

Users who have liked, shared or commented on a post that Facebook considers could contribute to ‘imminent physical harm’ will see a message in their newsfeeds to direct them to a myth-busting page set up by the World Health Organisation.

The latest development in the battle against fake news follows concerns voiced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that misinformation on social media could cost lives.

The social media giant’s task will include tackling the spread of information about false cures, such as drinking chlorine dioxide and theories dismissing the effectiveness of social distancing.

Facebook says already during the month of March they displayed warnings about 40 million posts related to coronavirus on the site and claim 95% of the time, after seeing the warnings, users did not go on to view the original content.

In a statement, Facebook wrote:

“We’ve now directed over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other health authorities through our COVID-19 Information Center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram with over 350 million people clicking through to learn more.

“But connecting people to credible information is only half the challenge. Stopping the spread of misinformation and harmful content about COVID-19 on our apps is also critically important. […]

“We’re going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed. These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO including ones we’ve removed from our platform for leading to imminent physical harm. We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook. People will start seeing these messages in the coming weeks.”

Find out more here.