Facebook Removes Pages That Promote False Information Related To CoVid-19 And Vaccination

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Facebook Removes Pages That Promote False Information Related To CoVid-19 And Vaccination

Facebook has begun cracking down heavily on pages that promote false claims about CoVid-19 and the new vaccines that have been developed to fight the disease. Many of these pages, promoting conspiracy theories and fake news, have been removed by the social network giant in a bid to stop them affecting the public-health fightback against the deadly disease.

Within the last few days, Facebook has removed nine prominent pages. The pages were promoting false information and directing users to alternative medicine sites, many of whom sold products and herbal remedies. It is believed that these pages were working together and were part of a coordinated network. Whether the sole intention was to make money, or the page owners actually believe in the conspiracy theories is unclear.

Some of the sites ran bizarre stories claiming that cannabis could cure CoVid-19, or that the disease could be prevented with fresh-air. One went as far as to claim that elderberry soup is more effective than a flu-shot.

The reach of these pages was huge. These sites, and their connected sites with their own Facebook followings, could reach as many as 65 million people. In the first 11 months of 2020, the pages' posts received over 70 million comments, likes and shares.

These pages were identified by the independent group, the German Marshall Fund. The director of the GMF, Karl Kornbluh, said in a statement:

"These networks are turning disinformation into dollars—at the expense of people's health. More transparency is needed so that people can know who is benefiting from the information showing up in their news feed."

It is feared that the disinformation that is spread by such sites can lead to people not taking the medical advice of professional organisations seriously. It is also a real worry that due to this misinformation people may not come forward for vaccination against CoVid-19. Even a small percentage of people refusing to get the vaccine could lead to tens-of-thousands of excess deaths in the coming years. Over 280,000 Americans have now died of the disease.

It is important to note that this has also included the unfair removal of several Facebook pages that had been running for years, sharing valuable information. Some of these pages, had an established presence on the medium, producing quality content for almost a decade. We've seen the removal of a particular page for example, which never promoted fake news or conspiracy theories whatsoever, but was nonetheless erased on the basis that it had shared a few articles that contained misleading titles, with no intention to mislead its audience whatsover. Facebook's decision to eliminate that page was therefore unjustified based on the false belief that the page was promoting fake news by mere association to another page. This shows the poor critical evaluation on behalf of Facebook's research team behind their decision-making process which has resulted in years of work and effort being thrown away.

In the past, Facebook has been criticised for not acting quickly enough to crack-down on hate-speech and other misinformation on its platform. It did, however, after the Charlottesville clashes of 2017, remove some sites belonging to white supremacists, and in recent months it has removed pages with huge followings that supported the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon supporters claim that President Trump is defending America against a child-sex ring of Satanists that work at the highest level of government.

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Thinking Humanity: Facebook Removes Pages That Promote False Information Related To CoVid-19 And Vaccination
Facebook Removes Pages That Promote False Information Related To CoVid-19 And Vaccination
Facebook has begun cracking down heavily on pages that promote false claims about CoVid-19 and the new vaccines that have been developed to fight the
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