Facebook is continuing in its efforts to mediate the developing coronavirus situation.
In an announcement on Wednesday, company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined the latest initiatives, which includes giving the World Health Organisation (WHO) free ads.
“Given the developing situation, we’re working with national ministries of health and organizations like the WHO, CDC and UNICEF to help them get out timely, accurate information on the coronavirus,” Zuckerberg said.
“We’re giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support. We’ll also give support and millions more in ad credits to other organizations too and we’ll be working closely with global health experts to provide additional help if needed.”
Having last month outlined measures to restrict the spread of misinformation on the platform – including limiting the distribution of material deemed to be false – Zuckerberg highlighted a continued effort in the space.
“We’re also focused on stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation. It’s important that everyone has a place to share their experiences and talk about the outbreak, but as our community standards make clear, it’s not okay to share something that puts people in danger,” he said.
“So we’re removing false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations. We’re also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation — for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease.”
times of crisis
While Facebook can certainly assist in the spread of misinformation in times of crisis, Zuckerberg also pointed out how important it can be.
“Communities around the world are dealing with quarantines and other disruption to their daily lives, and they’re using the internet more to stay connected even when they can’t be together in person,” he said.
“We know from previous emergencies — and from places where there have already been outbreaks of coronavirus across the world — that in times of crisis people rely on communication tools even more than usual.
“That means that as well as helping people access information, we have a responsibility to make sure our services are stable and reliable to handle this load and we take that seriously too.”
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