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Facebook to pin fact-checked coronavirus info on top of News Feed

AFP
Published Mar 19, 2020, 5:13 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2020, 5:13 pm IST
The rollout takes place today in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US and will be expanded to more countries in the coming days
Information from the World Health Organisation and Centers for Disease Control would begin appearing on top of the feed as displayed here. (Photo | Facebook Newsroom)
 Information from the World Health Organisation and Centers for Disease Control would begin appearing on top of the feed as displayed here. (Photo | Facebook Newsroom)

San Francisco: Facebook said Wednesday it would place “authoritative” coronavirus content at the top of user feeds as it scrambled to keep up with increased usage and stem the flow of misinformation on its platform and WhatsApp messaging.

“Today we’re announcing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center, featured at the top of News Feed, to provide a central place for people to get the latest news and information as well as resources and tips to stay healthy and support their family and community,” Facebook announced.

 

Information from the World Health Organisation and Centers for Disease Control, as well as vetted helpful articles, videos and posts about social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be available on the top of the news feed, a statement said.

The social network is rolling out the information center in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US within the next 24 hours, and will expand it to more countries in the coming days. 

Facebook has also donated $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Network to expand the presence of local fact-checkers and curb misinformation on WhatsApp, said Facebook head of health Kang-Xing Jin.

 

Augmenting capacity

Facebook has nearly doubled server capacity to power WhatsApp as people in isolation place more voice and video calls using the popular messaging service.  “Teams are hard at work to make sure all the services run smoothly, because this is clearly a time when people want to stay connected,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said while updating reporters on the company’s efforts.

“We want to make sure we do our part to alleviate loneliness.”

Facebook has been grappling with making it possible for content to be moderated at home by workers—many of them contracted through outside companies—who are working remotely to reduce coronavirus risk.

 

“There are certain kinds of content moderation that are very sensitive—such as suicide and self harm—and if you are working on that content for a long time it can be very emotionally challenging,” Zuckerberg said.

Some content being checked by moderators also comes with privacy concerns. Facebook is moving the most sensitive types of content moderation to full-time employees for now, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook will also continue to use artificial intelligence systems to watch for banned content.

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