Since the start of the corona pandemic, Facebook has removed 3,000 accounts, pages and groups from the platform that spread misinformation about the virus. In total, twenty million messages have been deleted.
The information was removed from Facebook itself, and from its subsidiary Instagram. Facebook writes in a blog post about so-called ‘super spreaders’. In the blog post, Facebook lashes out at an investigation by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. It concluded in May that just 12 individuals on Facebook were responsible for 73 percent of the misinformation surrounding the coronavirus. Facebook calls that report poorly substantiated and says that the CCDH conducted the research on too small a group of users. The CCDH would have looked at a limited number of small groups. Facebook says the 12 individuals in the report “are responsible for 0.05 percent of all views of vaccine-related posts” on the platform.
Despite this, Facebook has said it has removed more than 36 pages, groups and accounts linked to the 12 individuals named in the report. From another group of ‘nearly 25 pages, groups and accounts’ posts were also moved lower in the news feed so that fewer users saw them. The twelve ‘super spreaders’ themselves have not been removed everywhere; for example, one, prominent politician Robert Kennedy Jr., has been removed from Instagram but not from Facebook itself.
Facebook also says in a report how many messages it has deleted in total. Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic until June this year, Facebook has deleted 3,000 accounts, pages and groups. In total, 20 million messages containing misinformation about the virus and vaccines were deleted. A warning label appeared on another 190 million messages. These are checked by international fact-checkers.