- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 16, 2020

Facebook said Thursday the company will alert users who previously engaged with misinformation posted on the platform about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“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,” said Guy Rosen, a Facebook executive described by the company as its vice president of integrity.

The messages will refer Facebook users to myths about COVID-19 that have been debunked by the World Health Organization and removed from the social network, Mr. Rosen said.

“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,” he said in a blog post.

Users who previously engaged with COVID-19 misinformation that has since been removed from Facebook can expect to start seeing the messages in the coming weeks, Mr. Rosen added.

Facebook has removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation about COVID-19 that could potentially lead to imminent physical harm, such as claims that drinking bleach cures the coronavirus and that physical distancing practices encouraged by health professionals to slow its spread are ineffective, he added.

Separate from removing content containing potentially harmful claims about the coronavirus, Facebook added warning labels to another 40 million posts in March that were determined to contain false information related to COVID-19 but allowed to remain on the platform, added Mr. Rosen.

Ninety-five percent of the time, Facebook users who saw those warnings did not bother viewing the content it concerned, he wrote in the blog.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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