Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg
File pic

In a bid to continue its fight against fake news and misinformation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbeg on Wednesday put out a lengthy post where he addressed what his company was doing to ensure that misinformation about coronavirus was not spread. Zuckerbeg also said that Facebook would be providing 'as many free ads' to the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that the virus does not rapidly spread.

There have already been several news pieces doing the round and spreading fear. This has also resulted in pharmacies running out of essentials such as hand sanitisers, hand washing soap, face masks, and even toilet paper.

Regarding masks, the WHO had said that you should wear a mask if you're coughing or sneezing. "Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water."

Earlier, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams took to Twitter on February 29 and said: "Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!"

Facebook and WhatsApp (also owned by the social media giant) have been facing the menace of rumours and fake news floating on their platforms. Both organisations have taken a number of steps, including sensitisation programmes among users across the country.

Since April last year, Facebook has been partnering various entities to bolster its efforts to clamp down on manipulated posts on its platform. It already counts BOOM and news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP) as its partners.

Once a fact-checker rates a story as false, it is shown lower in News Feed that significantly reduces its distribution, the statement said adding that this “stops the hoax from spreading and reduces the number of people who see it”.

Besides, Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetise and advertise removed – which helps curb the spread of financially-motivated false news.

Facebook said once a story is rated as false, the platform was able to reduce its distribution by 80 per cent.

With Agency Inputs

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal