Social media giant Facebook says it is cracking down on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation and will remove “false claims” posted to Facebook or Instagram which will have been debunked by public health experts.
In a company blog post on Thursday, Facebook said that it would be combating misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines as the world prepares for the roll-out of a number of inoculations against the disease.
Facebook’s previous policy was only to remove claims about Covid-19 which it said could lead to “imminent physical harm.”
On Thursday, it said the new move was an extension of its commitment to “remove misinformation about the virus that could lead to imminent physical harm. This could include false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of the vaccines.”
For example, we will remove false claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else that isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list.
Facebook added that it would “remove conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines that we know today are false” such as claiming that “specific populations are being used without their consent to test the vaccine’s safety.”
In November, the company reported that it had removed 12 million pieces of misinformation about Covid-19 in seven months, according to its internal guidelines.
Many of the posts removed already have related to false cures and conspiracy theories, such as one connecting the pandemic with 5G networks, according to Facebook.
On Monday, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it would be looking for more ways to help with the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re already planning a push around authoritative information about the vaccines,” Zuckerberg noted, though he did not elaborate.
The social media firm’s announcement comes a day after the UK became the first nation to approve a vaccine for roll-out, with the first jabs planned to be administered next week.
Despite the serious impact of the virus on health and the global economy to date, many people are still wary about receiving a vaccine. A poll released in mid-November, by analytics company Gallup found that only 58 percent of Americans would opt to receive a Covid-19 vaccine when one becomes available.
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