Internet companies and social media giants like Facebook have stepped up efforts to tackle the spread of rumours and fake news on their platforms amid the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook is currently working with eight independent third-party fact-checking entities, covering 11 Indian languages, to identify misinformation around COVID-19. Apart from that, the social media giant is also imparting training to local governments and emergency health organisations on designing impact-worthy health campaigns and accurate messaging with special focus on coronavirus.
We spoke to the Director and Head of Partnerships at Facebook India, Manish Chopra who spoke to us about the challenges of ensuring Facebook and Instagram are platform which portray only the right kind of information. People who now search for information related to COVID-19 on Instagram will start to see an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries.
“We’re removing false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations. On Instagram, we’ll remove COVID-19 accounts from account recommendations, and we are working to remove some COVID-19 related content from Explore, unless posted by a credible health organization. “
Speaking about misinformation spread by way of ads, Chopra tells us, “We’ve also banned ads, branded content, and commerce listings selling medical masks, hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits in ads and commerce listings.” “Our aim to be able to be a platform which not only portrays credible information related to COVID -19 but also be a platform that makes sure that the information is most readily available to everyone,” Chopra says.