Facebook has stepped up its efforts to combat the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus on its platform. In a post on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media giant is providing the WHO (World Health Organization) with "as many free ads as they need" to help fight the epidemic.
Facebook will also provide the WHO, as well as several other organizations, with other in-kind support, including ad credits.
The company is working closely with global health experts, national ministries of health, and organizations like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and UNICEF to provide additional help. Zuckerberg said Facebook had been working with health authorities over the last month to coordinate the company's response.
Facebook fights back the coronavirus
Facebook is focused to provide its 1.66 billion daily average active users with "credible and accurate information" about the coronavirus.
If you search for "Coronavirus" or "COVID-19" (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) on Facebook, you'll see a pop-up that directs you to the WHO or your local health authority. If you live in a country where the WHO has reported person-to-person transmission, it will appear on your news feed.
Zuckerberg further said that Facebook is focused on "stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation" about the virus. The platform is removing false claims and conspiracy theories that may mislead users. It will also block ads that falsely promise a cure or make other false claims.
In the past, Facebook has been subject to heavy criticism for the spread of misinformation on its platform. Hopefully, the company makes enough effort to stop misinformation and make this campaign a successful one.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, meanwhile, has teamed up with the Gates Foundation to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The Facebook founder says this partnership has enabled researchers in Cambodia to "sequence the full genome of the virus that causes COVID-19 in days," thus making it easier and faster to identify infected people.
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, another joint venture funded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, is also onboard this mission against the coronavirus epidemic.
The epidemic started in the Wuhan city of China in December last year. It has now spread to almost 80 countries with over 93,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths. The US has now recorded over 100 coronavirus cases, with at least nine deaths.