Facebook on Wednesday announced a portal that aims to be a one-stop shop for its more than 2.5 billion users to find news and resources about the novel coronavirus, something it said was a significant step in an effort to combat falsehoods and provide accurate information in the face of a fast-moving pandemic.
The new coronavirus information centre will roll out over the next 24 hours and will be at the top of users' Facebook feeds, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a media call.
Since the new coronavirus began sweeping the world earlier this year, misinformation has proliferated across social media, including on Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram. As government leaders and health officials are racing to contain the global pandemic, that onslaught of misinformation has hindered some of their efforts.
The social-networking giant previously said it was working to remove content making dangerous claims, such as those that suggest drinking bleach cures the coronavirus, that violate its policies prohibiting users from causing real-world harm.
Instagram said it was removing false information associated with the Covid-19 hashtag and replaced it with resources from the World Health Organisation, the CDC, and other authorities. (Covid-19 is a disease caused by the novel coronavirus.) It has also given those organisations free advertising and has banned the sale of medical face masks to prevent people from profiting off of a pandemic.
In his capacity as head of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Zuckerberg has funded a task force that seeks to quadruple coronavirus testing in the Bay Area.
Facebook has also announced a US$100 million grant for small businesses on Facebook and is giving US$1000 cheques to its employees, most of whom have been working from home since January.