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Facebook, Twitter remove millions of pieces of fake news content related to Covid-19

  • Mar 27, 2021
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 18639
  • Science/TECH
Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have been removing millions of pieces of fake news content from their platforms in a bid to stamp out misinformation surrounding Covid-19, The Straits Times has learnt.
The two companies have also been expanding steps to highlight credible information on the disease and encourage vaccinations, as the jabs continue to be distributed globally and taken by millions every day.
A Twitter spokesman told ST last Thursday (March 18) that the company has removed more than 22,400 tweets and challenged 11.7 million accounts worldwide that have contained problematic content, since last year. It had previously said earlier this month that it had removed 8,493 tweets and challenged 11.5 million accounts.
Owners of challenged accounts will have to provide Twitter with a means of verification, like a phone number or e-mail address, to prevent abuse.
Meanwhile, since February, Facebook has removed two million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram, after expanding the list of false claims that it will remove during the pandemic.
Facebook's list, which it developed together with health authorities like the World Health Organisation, had initially covered false information about things such as the existence or severity of Covid-19, the way the disease is transmitted as well as "guaranteed" cures like drinking bleach.
It now also includes additional false claims about the coronavirus and vaccines, such as how vaccines are not effective at preventing the disease they are meant to protect against, that it is safer to get the disease than the vaccine, and that vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism.
Twitter has also been broadening its policy surrounding fake news to include vaccinations. Its spokesman told ST: "Tweets which advance harmful, false or misleading narratives about Covid-19 vaccinations will be removed."
On its Covid-19 misleading information policy page online, Twitter said that in order for content related to the virus to be labelled or removed under this policy, it must advance a claim of fact expressed in definitive terms; be demonstrably false or misleading, based on widely available and authoritative sources; and be likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm.
From this month, Twitter has been applying warning labels to tweets that may contain misleading information about Covid-19 vaccines.