KEY POINTS

  • Facebook will begin alerting users who react to or like coronavirus stories fact-checkers have marked as false
  • Previously, Facebook alerted users to fake coronavirus stories only if they tried sharing posts containing false information
  • Facebook has offered financial support to various fact-checking companies 

To fight the spread of misinformation, Facebook said Thursday it would begin notifying users if any coronavirus stories with which they interacted contained fake claims and stories. Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen shared the decision in a post on Facebook’s newspage.

“We’re going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed,” Rosen said in the post. “These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO including ones we’ve removed from our platform for leading to imminent physical harm.”

It’s the latest step taken by Facebook to battle misinformation on its platforms amid the coronavirus pandemic. Until Thursday, it was only telling users about fake COVID-19 stories when they shared a post fact-checkers marked as false.

Rosen said Facebook has been working with more than 60 fact-checking companies from around the world to review coronavirus stories in around 50 languages. Eight more companies have joined this group since the pandemic exploded in March and began covering information in 12 more countries.

Facebook also offered financial support to the various fact-checking companies working with a $1 million grant through a partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network. Rosen said these grants have been able to support companies in countries like Italy, Colombia, the Republic of Congo, and others with more on the way.

Rosen also introduced a coronavirus facts page called “Get The Facts.” The page will contain stories already proofread by fact-checking partners selected by Facebook’s news curation team and updated weekly.

“As this pandemic evolves, we’ll continue focusing on the most effective ways to keep misinformation and dangerous hoaxes about COVID-19 off our apps and ensure people have credible information from health experts to stay safe and informed,” Rosen said.