Facebook has removed 18 million misleading posts about COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic
Facebook does not plan to notify its customers who may be among the half a billion users whose personal information was exposed after being posted to a website used by hackers. (Image: Shutterstock)
TORONTO -- As the third wave of COVID-19 continues across the country, staying up-to-date with the right information has never been more important. But depending on where you get the news, sometimes misinformation can be hard to spot.
Since the start of the pandemic, until April 2021, more than 18 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram have been removed for violating the platforms’ policies on COVID-19-related misinformation.
The company says it has labeled more than 167 million pieces of COVID-19 content in total, and are making accounts that discourage vaccines more difficult to find as part of its efforts.
Facebook has faced criticism over how its platforms has been used to spread conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and vaccines throughout the pandemic. In response, the company says that it has started to take stronger measures to tackle misinformation, including banning repeat offenders.
“COVID-19 continues to be a major public health issue, and we are committed to helping people get authoritative information, including vaccine information,” Facebook’s VP of Integrity, Guy Rosen, said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Facebook released its latest community standards enforcement report. The report provides metrics and offers some insight into how the company enforced its policies from January to March of 2021 on issues like graphic violence, hate speech and harassment.
Facebook says that in an effort to combat COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation, it has connected over 2 billion people around the world with information from health authorities and will continue to connect people with accurate health information to help build confidence in vaccines.
“In 2021 we’re focused on supporting health leaders and public officials in their work to vaccinate billions of people against COVID-19,” Facebook’s Head of Health, Kang-Xing Jin, said in a statement. “Building trust and confidence in these vaccines is critical, so we’re launching the largest worldwide campaign to help public health organizations share accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines and encourage people to get vaccinated as vaccines become available to them.”