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Facebook will now warn users who “like” fake coronavirus news

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FILE – This March 29, 2018, file photo shows the Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square. Facebook, Google and other platforms are taking unprecedented steps to protect public health as potentially dangerous coronavirus misinformation spreads around the world. In a possible first, Facebook removed a post by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro that touted unproven viral benefits of a malaria drug, while Twitter nixed an associated video. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Fake coronavirus news is rampant across social media, and now Facebook is taking more aggressive action to try to limit it. According to CBSNews, The tech giant will soon let users know if they interact with misinformation related to the pandemic on the site. 

Users will soon be sent notifications informing them if they have “liked,” reacted to or commented on dangerous or false claims about COVID-19 after the post has been removed by moderators. The alert will also direct users to a World Health Organization (WHO) site debunking myths about the virus. 

“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’s VP of Integrity, Guy Rosen, said in a blog post. 

A number of tech companies have attempted to introduce policies and tools to limit the spread of coronavirus hoaxes, but misinformation is still pervasive online, especially as people in isolation spend more time than ever searching for news. So far, Facebook has hired fact-checking partners and introduced pop-up links to health resources such as WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Facebook said its latest effort will roll out in the next few weeks. Still, social media platforms face a seemingly endless challenge from users promoting fake treatments and other potentially dangerous false information.

Facebook said that it has so far removed hundreds of thousands of posts that could lead to physical harm, including misinformation about the effectiveness of social distancing and bogus “cures” like drinking bleach. It also disclosed that it has put more than 40 million warning labels on videos, posts and articles on its platforms, sent over 350 million people to health information sites, and stopped over 95% of people from clicking on fake coronavirus news.

 It also said it is adding a section to its COVID-19 Information Center called “Get the Facts,” to include fact-checked articles that debunk coronavirus misinformation. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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