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Facebook bans vaccine misinformation, provides Covid-19 jab advice

Image credit: reuters

Facebook has said it will direct users on where and how to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as it also announces a ban on misleading information about vaccines in general.

The social network claims it has connected over two billion people from 189 countries to information about the disease through its 'Covid-19 Information Center' [sic].

Starting from this week, Facebook users will find links to the NHS website on the page, providing advice on their eligibility and how they can arrange a jab.

Facebook also said it has removed more than 12 million pieces of content containing misinformation from both Facebook and Instagram. In addition, researchers and public health officials have been provided with real-time data and tools to help them forecast the disease.

In a blog post, Facebook said: “There’s still a long road ahead and in 2021 we’re focused on supporting health leaders and public officials in their work to vaccinate billions of people against Covid-19. 

“Building trust and confidence in these vaccines is critical, so we’re launching the largest worldwide campaign to help public health organisations share accurate information about Covid-19 vaccines and encourage people to get vaccinated as vaccines become available to them.”

The firm’s new community guidelines relating to vaccine misinformation apply to user-generated posts as well as paid advertisements, which were already banned from including such misinformation. It added that Instagram users will face the same restrictions.

In January 2020, Facebook announced it was taking steps to “limit the spread of misinformation" on its platform with regards to Covid-19 in general.

Nevertheless, by June, researchers claimed that over 90 per cent of reported misinformation relating to the disease remained visible online, with no warnings attached.

Following consultation with health organisations, the firm will now remove posts suggesting Covid-19 is man-made or manufactured, as well as claims that wearing a face mask does not help prevent the virus spreading.

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