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Facebook Users Engaging In Harmful Covid-19 Posts Will Be Notified Soon

Facebook Users Engaging In Harmful Covid-19 Posts Will Be Notified Soon
Users of Facebook who had engaged in false posts related to the coronavirus pandemic will be notified by the social media company and the company will then connect such individual users to that they can accurate information about the disease. Fake posts will include those that could cause physical harm to people such as drinking bleach to cure the virus, the company has said. This procedure would be started soon.
There have been large volumes of false and misinformation on Facebook about the coronavirus pandemic and its effects such as posts claiming that social distancing will not curb the disease and the company had been striving had to handle such posts, said the social media giant, which also owns photo-sharing network Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp.
An uncharacteristically aggressive posture about false posts related to coronavirus has been taken by Facebook. False and misinformation about the virus pandemic can be responsible for greater human harm to the social media platform’s users compared to  political falsehoods, which is generally permitted on eth platform, said the company’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.
Close to 140,000 people have so far been killed by the pandemic across the world, while more than 2 million people have been infected by the virus. The spread of the pandemic has also also forced many governments to impose strict lockdown in an effort to slow down the spread of the disease.
In March, while hundreds of thousands of false posts that could be harmful for users had been taken down by Facebook, it had also flashed warnings on another about 40 million false claims related to the virus but had not removed such posts, Facebook said.
"We will also soon begin showing messages in News Feed to people who previously engaged with harmful misinformation related to COVID-19 that we've since removed, connecting them with accurate information," Zuckerberg said in a post.
According to analysts, this latest move by Facebook is like a small concession to its critics who have been calling on the company to "correct the record" and inform its users about the posts that are dubious and which are later removed by the company or are marked as false or containing fake information. Till now, the calls had been resisted by the company which argued that if it draws attention of the users ot such posts through by flagging them, it could instead lead to their spread inadvertently fuel their spread.
Facebook said that the notifications would start to appear within the next few weeks and they would direct people to a World Health Organization list of common myths about the novel coronavirus while also encouraging such users to "help friends and family avoid false information."
While welcoming the latest move by Facebook, the European Commissioner for values and transparency Vera Jourova, urged more to be done on the issue by the company.
"We will need more transparency and better access to data for researchers to fully verify the scope and impact of false content and to be able to assess Facebook's actions," she said in a statement.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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