Facebook announced on Feb. 8 that it will take down posts with claims about vaccines that health organizations or its fact-checkers deem false.
“Today, we are expanding our efforts to remove false claims on Facebook and Instagram about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general during the pandemic,” said a post from the social media giant. “Since December, we’ve removed false claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts.”
“Today, following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines,” Facebook stated in a blog post.
WHO came under fire in 2020 for allegedly mishandling the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus outbreak, leading then-President Donald Trump to withdraw funding to the United Nations organization. Since then, there have been increasing calls for an investigation into the origin of the virus, which is said to have emerged in Wuhan, China, in 2019.
Facebook added that it will “begin enforcing this policy immediately,” adding that it will focus on publishers, groups, and accounts that violate its rules.
“We are also requiring some admins for groups with admins or members who have violated our COVID-19 policies to temporarily approve all posts within their group. Claims about COVID-19 or vaccines that do not violate these policies will still be eligible for review by our third-party fact-checkers, and if they are rated false, they will be labeled and demoted,” the company stated.
One of Facebook’s main fact-checkers is Lead Stories, a company that has received funds via Facebook, Google, and TikTok owner ByteDance, which has ties with the Chinese regime.
Twitter announced in December 2020 that it would also begin labeling and removing posts about the CCP virus vaccine that it deems false.
Both Facebook and Twitter have come under fire in recent years for what critics have said is an attempt to censor people who express views outside the mainstream media narrative. Last month, Trump’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms were suspended—prompting an outcry from conservatives and civil liberties groups.
And separately, earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call that the Menlo Park, California-based company will start to reduce political posts.
“We’re also currently considering steps that we can take to reduce the amount of political content in News Feed as well,” Zuckerberg said, adding it is trying to create programs to “enable people to engage in political groups and discussions if they want to.”
“One of the top pieces of feedback that we are hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” he said. “So, one theme for this year is that we’re going to continue to focus on helping millions of more people participate in healthy communities, and we’re going to focus even more on being a force for bringing people closer together.”