According to a report from Fast Company, Facebook will send notifications directly to users who like, share, or comment on COVID-19 posts that violate the company’s terms of service. This new feature works like this: if a user interacts with a post that’s later removed; Facebook sends a notification to the user; telling them that the post was taken down.
If the user clicks the notification, they’ll be taken to a landing page with a screenshot of the post, and also a short explanation for why it was removed.
The landing page will also feature links to COVID-19 educational resources and actions; like unfollowing the group that posted it. This is an expansion of Facebook’s previous attempts to combat misinformation. Before this, the company displayed a banner on the news feed; urging users who had engaged with content that had been removed, to “Help Friends and Family Avoid False Information About Covid-19.” But users were often confused at what the banner was referring to; a Facebook product manager told Fast Company.
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The hope is that new approach is more direct than the banner; while still avoiding scolding users; or re-exposing them to misinformation. Facebook’s modified approach is arriving almost a year into the pandemic — a little late. The notifications don’t debunk claims in removed posts.
They also don’t apply to posts that later have fact-checking labels put on them, Fast Company writes. That means less-dangerous misinformation still has the opportunity to spread. Facebook has been slow to act on misinformation that the company doesn’t consider dangerous. Though conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines have spread for months; Facebook only began removing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation in December.
The question now is: is this too little, and too late?
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