Social Media

Facebook will start alerting users who have interacted with ‘harmful misinformation’ about COVID-19

Facebook this morning announced its latest step in its effort to combat the spread of misinformation around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Chief among them is a new message targeting users who have commented on, reacted to or liked false content about the virus.

The social network will pop up a message from the World Health Organization (recently defunded by Trump) with an option to share the link or visit the WHO’s COVID-19 debunk site. “We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook,” the company wrote in a post.

The pop-up is set to start appearing in the coming weeks. Debunks on the list include:

  • 5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19.

  • Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

  • You can recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Catching the new coronavirus DOES NOT mean you will have it for life.

  • Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease.

  • Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous.

  • COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates.

  • Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.

  • Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease.

  • The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

You seem like a rational person who probably knew all of that, but this is Facebook we’re talking about here. So, um, better safe than sorry. The site has also added a new page called Get the Facts that curates accurate info, including media fact checks. That information will soon trickle into Facebook News, as well.


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