Facebook Labels Fake News Posts About COVID-19

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Facebook Labels Fake News Posts About COVID-19

Following the footsteps of Facebook, the social media platform Facebook has been labeling misleading coronavirus tweets with warning messages. 

Amidst the surge of misinformation brought by the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook has announced that it has updated its policy regarding the spreading of fake news. Now, tweets about coronavirus that are proven to be misleading will get labeled with links designed to offer more truthful information about the context therein. Therefore, tweets that contain potentially harmful claims that are disputed by experts will now have more direct warning messages.

The latest moderation efforts of Facebook confirmed that the U.S. President Donald Trump– who recently posted a tweet where he said injecting disinfectants to individuals infected with coronavirus could help cure them– would be subject to the newest regulations. 

The Followers of Facebook Flag Fake News

However, as moderation goes into action, one expert fears the fact that moderators may get overwhelmed and question how much notice Facebook users will pay on the warnings. He also suggested that these warnings might be seen as a mark of pride by some individuals.

Facebook announced in a blog that it wanted to limit the spread of possibly harmful and misleading tweets with regards to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Similarly, Yoel Roth, Facebook’s head of site integrity responded to questions regarding the regulation changes. In a tweet, he said that the policy would be applied to anyone who will share misleading information that meets the requirement of the new policy. The policy would also be applied to world leaders who will be seen sharing or tweeting misleading information. If you want to get rid of misinformation on Facebook, better buy followers guide.

Facebook Labels Fake News Posts About COVID-19

Facebook Followers Are Used to Fake News

In addition, a link to a page or external trusted source curated by Facebook will be added to the offending tweets. The said link contains additional information as a clarification of the misleading tweet. In some cases, Facebook users will be given a warning to tweet conflicts that have expert opinions. 

The tweets that will be labeled with the aforementioned link are those that are deemed by Facebook as moderately harmful. This strategy is similar to the social network’s approach to deepfakes, which it has announced earlier this year. 

However, it is quite unclear how people would interpret the note “Get facts about COVID-19.” This is because the said note, which Facebook will attach into misleading tweets does not actually contradict anything said in a misleading tweet. Some Facebook users may see this note as the platform’s effort to spread additional information about the pandemic rather than a sign that the tweet they are currently seeing contains misinformation.

What Facebook Will Be Targeting

There is not much on the list of tweets that Facebook will be targeting and labeling as misleading or false news.  According to the social media platform, tweets that are confirmed by experts like public health authorities as fake or misleading will be subjected to its new moderation policy. In addition, tweets that have unknown or contested accuracy, credibility, and truthfulness will also carry strong warnings.

Facebook noted that the new system will also be applied to tweets that are posted even before the new regulation was announced. It also added that its team continues to use and improve the platform’s internal system in order to proactively monitor the posted content that is related to coronavirus. 

Facebook Labels Fake News Posts About COVID-19

Obviously, the worst and most serious consequence outlined in Facebook’s newest policy update is the removal of tweets that contain harmful misinformation. The next most serious consequence, on the other hand, is a warning. Tweets that contain severe propensity for harm will certainly receive a warning message. 

The new approach that Facebook will be implementing is similar to Facebook’s effort to moderate false information. Last month, Facebook has announced that it will be providing links to COVID-19 information tat are verified by third-party fact-checkers. The platform will target users who have previously liked, reacted, or commented on posts containing harmful misinformation that is related to the COVID-19 pandemic and will send them a link to more truthful information. 

Mark of Pride  

However, Dr. Bernie Hogan who is from the Oxford Internet Institute said that most of the time, cranks and trolls deliberately spread false information campaigns so they could simply swamp moderators. 

According to Dr. Hogan, the problem that he sees with Facebook’s new moderation policy is that Trump is doing a good job in labeling statements that disagrees with him as fake news. For this reason, he believes that the supporters of the president will more likely tune out Facebook’s warnings. What is even worse is that some Trump supporters may consider the warning as a mark of pride because an opinion, which is considered false and misleading was noticed by “the establishment.”

Analysis of Facebook’s Policy for Misinformation

Shayan Sardarizadeh, the monitoring disinformation specialist of the news platform BBC, analyzed how Facebook controls the flow of misinformation within its platform. She found out that similar to any other social media platforms, Facebook finds it difficult to control how misinformation flows within its social network ever since the coronavirus pandemic began.

After the said social media platform tightened its policies against harmful content last March, Facebook said that it has already removed a total of 1,100 misleading tweets. It has also challenged over 3.4 million accounts that are seen to be manipulating the conversation about coronavirus. 

The new labeling system created by Facebook is similar to the program of Facebook where it flags misleading content. The only difference is that Facebook is not going to use information from independent fact-checkers in labeling misleading content.

Facebook Labels Fake News Posts About COVID-19

Conclusion

The challenge today for tech giants is to find a balance between removing content that has harmful misinformation and protecting the right to free speech of their users.

The problem that these social media giants will have to face is questions from politicians as well as the public if they do not take action and remove harmful misinformation. However, once they removed posts containing harmful misinformation, there is a possibility for them to be subjected to accusations of censorship in an instance that their actions became too severe.

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