Facebook, Twitter fighting fake news linked to coronavirus

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) With claims related to false cures or prevention methods for coronavirus, like drinking bleach cures infections, spreading on social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have started taking proactive measures to fight the spread of harmful content, apart from taking action against those who spread misinformation.

Facebook said it is focusing on limiting the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus, while also connecting people to helpful information.

“Our global network of third-party fact-checkers are continuing their work reviewing content and debunking false claims that are spreading related to the coronavirus,” Facebook’s Head of Health Kang-Xing Jin wrote in a blog post.

“When they rate information as false, we limit its spread on Facebook and Instagram and show people accurate information from these partners. We also send notifications to people who already shared or are trying to share this content to alert them that it’s been fact-checked,” Jin added.

Twitter said it has invested significantly in its proactive abilities to ensure trends, search, and other common areas of the service are protected from malicious behaviour.

“As ever, those who engage in these practices will be removed from our service. We do not permit platform manipulation and we encourage people to think before sharing or engaging in deliberate attempts to undermine the public conversation,” Twitter said in a blog post, adding that it has seen over 15 million tweets on #coronavirus in the past four weeks.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday declared the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

Twitter said it is also halting any auto-suggest results that are likely to direct individuals to non-credible content on the platform.

“This is an expansion of our #KnowTheFacts prompt, which we specifically put in place for the public to find clear, credible information on immunisation and vaccination health,” it added.

In collaboration with the WHO, Twitter is also working towards launching a dedicated search prompt for India to ensure that when an individual searches a hashtag they are immediately met with authoritative health information from the right sources up top, IANS has learned.

Facebook said it is closely coordinating with leading health organisations to make it easier for people to connect with accurate information about the situation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“For example, we will help people get relevant and up-to-date information from partners through messages on top of News Feed on Facebook; these will be deployed based on guidance from the WHO,” the Facebook’s Head of Health said.

Social media platform ShareChat said it has multiple third party fact checkers reviewing content across 12 languages.

“Any content found to be factually inaccurate is tagged as such on the platform and it’s vitality is reduced,” Berges Y Malu, Head – Public Policy, ShareChat, said in a statement.

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