Facebook To Add Labels To All Posts on Vaccines To Counter Misinformation

Kimberly Redmond  |

Today we're launching a global campaign to help bring 50 million people a step closer to getting Covid-19 vaccines. We'...

As part of its larger effort to counter COVID-19 misinformation on its platforms, Facebook Inc ( Nasdaq: FB) plans to add informational labels to posts about vaccines.

On Monday, the social media company’s chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg said that the labels, which will be added to Facebook and Instagram posts, will point people to “credible information” about the vaccines from the World Health Organization.

“For example, we’re adding a label on posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines that notes COVID-19 vaccines go through tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post.

The safety labels will be rolled out in coming weeks. Facebook plans to eventually offer more targeted labels that include subtopics about the inoculations.

The social network is also adding a tool it created in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital to help Facebook users in the US find out where and when they can get the vaccine. The VaccineFinder tool will be expanded to other countries as vaccines become available more widely, according to the company.

Zuckerberg said, “We’ve already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative COVID-19 information and today, as access to COVID-19 vaccines expands, we’re going even further and aiming to help bring 50 million people one step closer to getting vaccinated.”

Both Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012, have been criticized by lawmakers and researchers for permitting and enabling vaccine misinformation to spread on its platforms.

Recently, the platforms strengthened their policies to combat false claims and conspiracies about the coronavirus vaccine, but pages and groups that promote anti-vaccine propaganda can still be easily found through keyword searches. 

In Monday’s blog post, Facebook also said that, since expanding its list of banned false claims about the coronavirus and vaccines in February, it has removed an additional 2 million pieces of content from its platforms. It has also implemented temporary measures including reducing the reach of content from users who repeatedly share content marked false by fact-checkers.

In an interview with Reuters, Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox said the company has taken viral false claims “very seriously” but admitted there is “a huge gray area of people who have concerns… some of which some people would call misinformation and some of which other people would call doubt.” 

“The best thing to do in that huge gray area is just to show up with authoritative information in a helpful way, be a part of the conversation and do it with health experts,” Cox told the outlet.

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Source: Equities News

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