Facebook parent Meta had once taken measures to deal with the COVID-19 misinformation that circulated during the peak of the pandemic. The company introduced strict policies then but now it is considering to relax those policies. Instead, the company is proposing to remove all the false claims by just labeling or demoting such posts. Facebook on July 26, 2022 asked its independent Oversight Board for an opinion if the strict pandemic policies were still wanted. The company has cited higher vaccination rates across the globe and its own efforts of promoting authoritative and genuine information about COVID-19.
Facebook has suggested an alternative to remove the false claims by labeling or suppressing them in the user’s feed. This could be done by the Meta police directly or it could also be outsourced to the third party fact-checkers. These reports can prompt the algorithms of Meta to reduce the visibility of claims that are rated as fake. Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs at Meta in a blog post has assured that the company continues to remain committed in dealing with the COVID-19 misinformation and that it would continue to provide people with reliable information.
Clegg also said that the times have changed and is the right time to bring in the input of the Oversight Board with the measures to address the COVID-19 misinformation. So here the board will be considering of the measures that were taken during the early days of the pandemic are essential at this phase. The board will also be considering the right measures that would be appropriate for the months and years ahead.
Talking about the current policies of Meta, it explicitly bans a wide range of false claims about COVID-19 like the illness could be transmitted through 5G technology or the COVID-19 tests could infect the person with the virus. Meta has listed nearly 80 kinds of false claims that are subject to removal from the platform.
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