Facebook will begin putting anti-misinformation messages in the News Feeds of individuals who have actually engaged with fake coronavirus stories. The company used an update on its fight against damaging false information today, revealing the launch of a number of brand-new functions for promoting accurate news. One of these is a box that will stand for people who liked, responded to, or discussed a post that Facebook later removed, motivating them to visit the World Health Organization’s website. Facebook is separately releasing a “Get the Facts” section loaded with vetted news about the pandemic.
Today’s update follows a scathing report by nonprofit group Avaaz, which called the site an “center of coronavirus false information” and cited various posts containing dangerous health recommendations and phony remedies. The business pushed back on this allegation, saying it’s removed “numerous countless pieces of false information” in the past weeks. For milder content that does not merit complete elimination, it cited stats suggesting caution labels have a genuine impact: when people see the caution, they don’t click through to the initial material 95 percent of the time. (We don’t know exactly how that compares to the typical clickthrough rate.)
Avaaz campaign director Fadi Quran told Politico that “Facebook ought to take pride in this step” to add brand-new features, “but the action doesn’t show the full range of what we wish to see them do.”
Facebook has cautioned users that they have actually engaged with false information in the past, opening a portal for people to examine if they ‘d liked or followed Russian propaganda pages. The pop-up strategy is more proactive, though. And the message that Facebook shared appears subtler and less judgmental. If anything, it appears created to prevent even telling individuals they fell for a phony story. Instead, it advises them to “assist loved ones prevent false info about COVID-19” by sharing a link to the World Health Company’s site.