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Facebook announces measures to keep people safe and informed amid COVID-19

By Kara Santos Published Dec 03, 2020 10:51 pm

Since the start of the global pandemic, people have turned to Facebook for news and updates about the coronavirus. As the virus continues to spread across the globe, the amount of virus-related misinformation and articles on fake cures and conspiracy theories continues to spike as well.

The social media giant has vowed to step up its efforts to curb the spread of misinformation and support the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed during the coronavirus public health crisis. 

According to the latest update posted on Facebook's newsroom Thursday (Dec. 3), the social media network said they are working to address the long-term impacts by supporting industries in need and making it easier for people to find and offer help in their communities. 

One concrete way Facebook is keeping users accurately informed is by removing harmful content. The social network aims to connect people to credible information on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp while combating COVID-19 misinformation across their apps. 

The social media giant stated that they have invested $100 million in the news industry and supporting fact-checkers, and are prohibiting exploitative tactics in ads and banning ads for medical face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits.

Facebook is also doing its part to support health and economic relief efforts in terms of financial support and donations.

This includes matching $20 million in donations to support COVID-19 relief efforts and donating $25 million to support healthcare workers on the front line. They are investing $100 million in small businesses and making it easier for people to support their local businesses and supporting global health organizations with free ads and more. They are also empowering partners with data and tools.

Another way Facebook is helping is by keeping people connected and making it easier for people to request or offer help in their communities. 

Facebook stated that they are helping local governments and emergency health organizations reach people on Facebook and Messenger, and collaborate using Workplace for free. The network has been sharing well-being tips and resources and donating $2 million to support mental health crisis helplines. They aim to keep their apps stable and reliable for all users who rely on it for information and resource sharing.

With recent news that COVID-19 vaccines will soon be rolling out around the world, Facebook also announced on Thursday that they will start removing false claims about these vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts on Facebook and Instagram.

The social media site will also continue to help people stay informed about these vaccines by promoting authoritative sources of information through the COVID-19 Information Center, a dedicated page where users can get all the latest verified news and updates in their country.

(Images via Facebook)