Facebook Fights COVID-19 Misinformation, Promotes CDC, WHO Health Reports

Trying to combat misinformation related to the COVID-19 crisis, Facebook will now highlight news and updates from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and local health and government organizations.

Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement during a press call on Wednesday, in which Facebook’s CEO outlined the company’s fast-evolving response to the global pandemic.

“The top priority and focus for us has been making sure people can get access to good, authoritative information from trusted health sources,” Zuckerberg said on the call.

To that end, Facebook is also rolling out an Information Center that will live atop users’ New Feeds.

“The goal here is going to be to put authoritative information from organizations like the CDC and WHO in front of everyone who uses our services, as well as prominent links to the websites of those organizations,” he said.

Facebook is also giving health organizations as many ad credits as they request in order to reach users with COVD-19 updates, said Zuckerberg.

“Anytime that someone’s searching for information on coronavirus, we’re inserting a popup that links to authoritative information from those sources,” he added.

To discourage the spread of misinformation, Facebook is also working with health organizations to target false and misleading information related to the outbreak.

On a more local level, Facebook is also exploring ways to connect people who need help with those able to offer it.

On the Wednesday call, Zuckerberg addressed several other issues, including reports that Facebook and other companies plan to share users’ location data with the federal government.

“As far as I can tell, those reports are largely overstated,” Zuckerberg said. “We produce these aggregate and anonymized data sets to health organization [to] basically identify the spread of certain kinds of diseases and produce maps from that.”

Added Zuckerberg: “I don’t think it would make sense to share people’s data in a way where people didn’t ... opt to doing that.”

Regarding the coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis among tech giants, Zuckerberg said: “The collaboration with the other companies has generally gotten a lot stronger on fighting bad content over the last few years.”

In line with Facebook’s recommendation for all employees, Zuckerberg also noted he is working from home. “I don’t think it would be very good to encourage everyone else to do that and then not do that myself,” he said.

Zuckerberg also noted that arrangements are being made to let contracted content moderators work from home.

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