Novel coronavirus (57) Facebook: "“We need to help get people access to credible information"

24 February, 2020

Extracts and a comment from me below. Read online here: https://www.devex.com/news/facebook-fights-fake-coronavirus-news-wants-t...

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SAN FRANCISCO 24 February — With its power to influence global health information, Facebook is now helping fight fake coronavirus news.

Following the emergence of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and the proliferation of bad information about it, the social media giant has already begun removing bogus information about cures and prevention methods. Facebook is also looking to partnerships with the public sector to replace this misinformation with helpful, credible alternatives, said Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's head of health, who spoke at Devex’s “Prescription for Progress” event on technology for health in San Francisco, California, earlier this month.

“We need to help get people access to credible information from trusted sources in the moments that they’re seeking it out.”

— Kang-Xing Jin, head of health, Facebook

“We’re working really closely with organizations like the [World Health Organization], as well as a variety of local ministries of health, to help them meet people where they are searching,” Jin said.

When people search for “coronavirus” or other related terms, Facebook will direct them to credible information at the top of the results with links to the WHO’s website or other relevant sources, Jin said.

“Misinformation really thrives when there’s a void or an absence of accurate information or trusted information,” he said.

The efforts to tackle bad information about COVID-19 are building on similar collaborations aimed at pushing back on misinformation about vaccines and stemming the rise of vaccine hesitancy, which WHO declared one of the 10 biggest threats to health last year, Jin said.

“We have work to do on removing and reducing harmful information, but just as importantly, we need to help get people access to credible information from trusted sources in the moments that they’re seeking it out,” he said.

“That’s something that I think we really need to do in close partnership with the public sector, because again, we’re not the people who have that information. That actually really shouldn’t be us. But we need to work closely to connect people in that way,” he added...

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COMMENT (Neil PW): It is very encouraging to see this surge of global awareness of the importance of reliable healthcare information. HIFA stands ready to work with WHO and others to build a world where every person has access to the healthcare information they need to protect their own health and the health of others, and where every person is protected from dangerous health misinformation.

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

***Please note (and forward this to Mark Zuckerberg if you know him!): We urgently need income to continue our vital work in 2020. Contact us to discover how you and/or your organisation can help. Together we can stop people dying due to lack of healthcare information. http://www.hifa.org/support/support-hifa-appeal

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org