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Facebook Bans False Claims About COVID-19 Vaccines

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Facebook on Thursday mentioned it might take away false claims about COVID-19 vaccines which have been debunked by public well being consultants, following an analogous announcement by Alphabet’s YouTube in October.

The transfer expands Facebook’s present guidelines in opposition to falsehoods and conspiracy theories concerning the pandemic. The social media firm says it takes down coronavirus misinformation that poses a danger of “imminent” hurt, whereas labeling and lowering distribution of different false claims that fail to succeed in that threshold.

Facebook mentioned in a blog post that the worldwide coverage change got here in response to information that COVID-19 vaccines will quickly be rolling out all over the world.

Two drug firms, Pfizer and Moderna, have requested US authorities for emergency use authorisation of their vaccine candidates. Britain authorised the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday, leaping forward of the remainder of the world within the race to start probably the most essential mass inoculation programme in historical past.

Misinformation concerning the new coronavirus vaccines has proliferated on social media through the pandemic, together with by means of viral anti-vaccine posts shared throughout a number of platforms and by completely different ideological teams, based on researchers.

A November report by the nonprofit First Draft discovered that 84 % of interactions generated by vaccine-related conspiracy content material it studied got here from Facebook pages and Facebook-owned Instagram.

Facebook mentioned it might take away debunked COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies, resembling that the vaccines’ security is being examined on particular populations with out their consent, and misinformation concerning the vaccines.

“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,” the corporate mentioned in a weblog put up. It mentioned it might replace the claims it removes based mostly on evolving steering from public well being authorities.

Facebook didn’t specify when it might start imposing the up to date coverage, however acknowledged it might “not be able to start enforcing these policies overnight.”

The social media firm has hardly ever eliminated misinformation about different vaccines beneath its coverage of deleting content material that dangers imminent hurt. It beforehand eliminated vaccine misinformation in Samoa the place a measles outbreak killed dozens late final yr, and it eliminated false claims a few polio vaccine drive in Pakistan that had been resulting in violence in opposition to well being staff.

Facebook, which has taken steps to floor authoritative details about vaccines, mentioned in October that it might additionally ban commercials that discourage folks from getting vaccines. In latest weeks, Facebook eliminated a distinguished anti-vaccine web page and a big non-public group, one for repeatedly breaking COVID misinformation guidelines and the opposite for selling the QAnon conspiracy concept. 

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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