Facebook’s Head of Health: “Misinformation Really Thrives In the Absence of Credible Information”

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With more than 2.6 billion daily users, it’s no secret that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) reaches a lot of people around the world across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Building on its COVID-19 information center, the tech stock recently announced a big push to provide authoritative information about coronavirus vaccines. This new campaign will connect users with localized vaccine information, remove more vaccine misinformation from its platforms, and donate $120 million in ad credits to health agencies. 

Corinne Cardina, Fool.com’s healthcare and cannabis bureau chief, got the chance to speak with KX Jin, Facebook’s Head of Health, on Feb. 10 about Facebook’s plan to increase trust in COVID vaccines. He talked about the company’s commitment to providing accurate information on vaccines and removing posts that contain false information.

 

 

Corinne Cardina: Facebook announced as part of this campaign that it is expanding efforts to remove false claims on Facebook and Instagram about COVID-19 as well as vaccines. The press release said, since the pandemic began, the company has removed more than 12 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram containing misinformation that could lead to eminent physical harm. Could you elaborate on the expanding efforts pertaining to the vaccine part?

KX Jin: Misinformation really thrives in the absence of credible information. Ultimately, what everyone wants is to keep themselves safe and healthy, and to keep their loved ones safe and healthy. That’s why we’ve been so focused on a lot of the efforts to help people get credible information on our platform that I talked about today. As I mentioned, a lot of these things I think had real positive impacts and have been quite effective. At the same time, it’s also important that we work on misinformation. We’ve been doing this, honestly, since the day the WHO declared this thing to be a public health emergency. We’ve been removing false claims around COVID-19 that could cause harm to folks that have been debunked by public health authorities. We’ve been updating that policy as the pandemic evolved and as our understanding or the world’s understanding of things have changed. Early on, guidance around masks was much more mixed, and as the guidance around masks became clear, we’ve updated our policies in response. The announcement today on the misinformation side, I would view as an extension of our approach here. A year in, tremendously grateful that we have vaccines that work, and we want to make sure that we’re removing misinformation along those lines as well.

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