Facebook says it will add labels to all posts about COVID-19 vaccines, as part of its efforts to help more people get a shot as well as to counter what it calls misinformation.
“We’ve already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative COVID-19 information, and today as access to COVID-19 vaccines expands, we’re going even further and aiming to help bring 50 million people one step closer to getting vaccinated,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.
One of the ways the California-based technology giant is doing so is by adding labels on every post about vaccines.
The labels will show information from the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We’re continuing to expand our efforts to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation by adding labels to Facebook and Instagram posts that discuss the vaccines. These labels contain credible information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization. For example, we’re adding a label on posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines that notes COVID-19 vaccines go through tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved,” Facebook said in a blog post.
That label was rolled out around the world in six languages, including English and Arabic, with additional languages planned in the coming weeks.
Other labels in the near future will include ones targeted for vaccine “subtopics.”
“We will also add an additional screen when someone goes to share a post on Facebook and Instagram with an informational COVID-19 vaccine label. It will provide more information so people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share,” Facebook said on March 15.
Facebook has already removed millions of posts that violate a list of allegedly false claims about COVID-19 it created with the help of WHO. Those include claims surrounding at least one topic that has yet to be determined—the theory that the virus is man-made or manufactured.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. The virus is believed to have begun spreading in China in late 2019, and its origins aren’t yet known.
To further stem what it refers to as the spread of “potentially harmful COVID-19 and vaccine information,” Facebook is requiring administrators for groups with admins or members who have violated policies to temporarily approve all posts within their group.
The company is also reducing the reach of posts from users who have violated misinformation policies or have shared content that Facebook’s fact-checkers deem false or missing context.
The new announcements come 10 days before Zuckerberg and other tech CEOs are scheduled to testify to Congress during a hearing about misleading information “plaguing online platforms.”
“The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work. They’re our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life,” wrote Zuckerberg on March 15, who has previously expressed concern about COVID-19 vaccines in private. “I’m looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.”