Facebook's head of health says misinformation proliferates 'in the absence of credible information'

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The widespread availability of reliable information is one of the best defenses against the spread of misinformation, especially about COVID-19, according to a Feb. 28 report from The Motley Fool.

Facebook launched an initiative Feb. 8 to mitigate the spread of misinformation by donating $120 million in ad credits to health agencies, featuring links to local health websites that people understand their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and expanding the list of COVID-19-related false claims it removes.

Speaking about the tech giant's initiative, Facebook's head of health, Kang-Xing Jin, told The Motley Fool that "misinformation really thrives in the absence of credible information." 

He said that Facebook has been removing false claims about COVID-19 since the WHO declared it a pandemic, and their policies have been evolving as public health agencies publicize new information.

Mr. Jin said Facebook's policy on face mask discourse on its site was more lenient toward the beginning of the pandemic when official guidance on masks was mixed, but it became more austere once federal health agencies declared masks were an effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

He also said that Facebook will continue to remove COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and disseminate credible information about vaccines as it becomes available.

 

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