Facebook removes false information about coronavirus and Google shows alerts

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Facebook and Google are taking steps to provide users with correct information about the coronavirus. Facebook takes action against harmful fake information about the virus and Google shows information from the World Health Organization in searches.

Facebook reports that fact-checkers check messages about the coronavirus on the social network and if the information is labeled incorrect, Facebook will limit the further distribution of the messages. For false claims or conspiracy theories that have been identified as harmful by health organizations, Facebook will remove the posts.

The company says it mainly focuses on false claims about treatments and prevention. On Instagram, Facebook removes hashtags with fake information about the coronavirus or tries to prevent the spread of those hashtags. In the past, Facebook has been criticized for doing too little to curb the spread of false information. For example, the platform refused to remove pages of conspiracy theories from anti-vaccination groups, though the company decided to make anti-vax messages less visible.

Google, in partnership with the World Health Organization an SOS Alert set for the coronavirus. If you search for this name with Google, you will see featured links that point to WHO pages with information about the virus. Also Twitter takes action to provide users with correct information. The service redirects users searching for the virus to pages of local health organizations with correct information.

As with many current topics, internet users try to abuse the attention for the corona virus. They do this not only with fake news, but also with attempts to spread malware. For example, IBM finds that emails containing malware are circulating in Japan that are packaged as warnings about the virus.

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