Facebook has so far been the epicenter of any news related to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s users haven’t been proactive in sifting through what’s fact and fiction about the virus.
The crackdown on misinformation about the Coronavirus is at full speed. Facebook and its affiliate companies have taken measures regarding information confusion among its users.
Despite these proactive methods, Facebook’s users are seemingly less intuitive about which news is real or fake.
Just last week, WhatsApp has attempted to control the careless sharing of information through various groups in their platform. It remains to be seen whether this deterrent will be effective or not.
Facebook, on the other hand, has invested heavily in a Coronavirus information center both in Messenger and on Facebook itself. Still, these aren’t enough to control misinformation.
Labeling and pop-ups about misinformation
The ‘infodemic’ is real among Facebook users. Day after day, new misinformed graphics and texts are shared across the platform.
Facebook has their plates full by running after these contents. The company has already set up a multi-lingual team that sifts through Coronavirus related posts. They pick out those are that are misinformed, and label them properly.
A research company doesn’t see the effects of the efforts of Facebook. Some of the most harmful misinformed posts that the research has found are posts related to racism and things against common sense.
They have founds posts that mention that ‘black people are immune to the disease’ and that ‘Coronavirus is destroyed by chlorine dioxide.’
Unless posts like these are labeled, uninformed users can be led to believe them.
Today we're launching the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center, a place for people to get the latest updates from health authorities and find resources for staying healthy.
➡️ https://t.co/KaJrnq7WMi pic.twitter.com/A3arjhJPSo
— Facebook (@Facebook) March 18, 2020
Next level of fighting the misinformation
Facebook is taking more steps further than the mere labeling of misinformed posts. According to Facebook’s spokesperson, the company is going as far as notifying a user if he has been exposed to a misinformed post.
A redirecting link to the proper Coronavirus information center comes with the notification. Facebook hopes that this proactive measure will help guide their users in receiving information only from credible sources.
Mark Zuckerberg made sure that the efforts of his people don’t go unnoticed. He said that ‘On Facebook and Instagram, we’ve now directed more than two billion people to authoritative health resources via our COVID-19 Information Center and educational pop-ups, with more than 350 million people clicking through to learn more.’
Journalists are working around the clock to bring us vital information about the coronavirus outbreak. Today, Facebook is announcing a $100 million investment to support news organizations and reporters as they navigate the economic impact of the crisis. https://t.co/14k9WWrEOr
— Campbell Brown (@campbell_brown) March 30, 2020
There are still doubters of this measure taken by the giant social media company. At the end of the day, it will still be the user’s discretion that will prevail. The labeling of a misinformed post is a good first step.
The second level of the information drive shows a strong promise. The succeeding step is for online users to give more scrutiny to the contents that they receive.
Image courtesy of Austin Distel/Unsplash