The power of big-tech has grown by unprecedented amounts in the last few years, and while it’s nice for profits, it also brings upon a massive responsibility towards the masses. This is why companies like Google have taken up the task of providing factual information about COVID 19 and the vaccination drive that has followed. Today, Facebook is also making a step in that direction, and has announced several updates in its app to combat COVID vaccine misinformation.
The company announced that it will soon add a label to all posts related to the coronavirus vaccine that will redirect users to ‘official information’ on the topic from credible sources.
“We’re continuing to expand our efforts to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation by adding labels to Facebook and Instagram posts that discuss the vaccines. These labels contain credible information about the safety of COVID-19 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.” Facebook said in a blog post.
These labels will be launched globally first in English, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Portuguese, and Arabic, with the company promising to add more languages later on.
Along with these informative labels, the company is also looking to add a feature on its app which will show information regarding vaccination centers to users in US, containing instructions on where they can get vaccinated, as well as an easy link they can click on to make an appointment. This feature is being launched in the States first, but the firm has said that it will be adding it to the global platform once vaccination picks up speed worldwide. This focus on U.S could also be because of an internal Facebook study, which had shown that the majority of anti-vaccine posts were being shared by a small population in U.S.
Apart from labels for viewers, Facebook is also taking measures to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform, by introducing popups which will show show up when users try to share posts about vaccines, containing valid and fact checked information on the subject.
Facebook has also said that content from those users that have previously shared fake information, or have otherwise violated Facebook’s COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policy, will be shared to a minimum. Moreover, if such users are admins or members of a group, the admins or owners will be asked to approve the posts shared in said groups for the time being.
Facebook has also said that it is partnering with various health ministries and other such organizations to provide correct and verified facts to its users. It is also working with governments around the world to prompt people to register for the vaccine.