Facebook on Thursday said it was taking several steps to prevent the spread of misinformation related to the coronavirus, including removing “content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.”
The statement provided examples: “This includes claims related to false cures or prevention methods — like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus — or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available.”
The company, which plans to promote important virus-related updates at the top of its News Feed, also said that when its third-party fact checkers rate information as false, that information’s spread will be limited on Facebook and Instagram, and users will be shown accurate information instead. Users who try to share posts identified as false, or who have already shared them, will be told that the content has been debunked, the company said.
On Wednesday, Twitter made changes to its search algorithm to prioritize results from reputable health organizations. It said those changes were in place only in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, Britain and Vietnam, but that they would expand as needed. Twitter is blocked in mainland China.
Reporting was contributed by Russell Goldman, Chris Buckley, Elaine Yu, Li Yuan, E. Justin Swanson, Kate Conger, Miriam Jordan, Emma Bubola, Elisabetta Povoledo, Jason Horowitz, Geneva Abdul and Richard C. Paddock. Elsie Chen, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Amber Wang, Yiwei Wang and Claire Fu contributed research.