Coronavirus spurs Facebook to take bolder misinformation strategy

Facebook will remove all content that contains false and potentially dangerous information about the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced in a Jan. 30 blog post.  

The social media giant made the decision after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. As part of the new policy, Facebook will remove content that contains false claims or conspiracy theories capable of causing real-world harm. The policy will also apply to content on Instagram, which Facebook owns. 

The move marks a rare departure from Facebook's typical strategy of merely flagging inaccurate content or deprioritizing it in users' feeds, reports The Washington Post.

"As the global public health community works to keep people safe, Facebook is supporting their work in several ways, most especially by working to limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus and connecting people to helpful information," Facebook wrote in the blog post.

As of Jan. 30, health officials have confirmed 9,776 coronavirus cases and 213 deaths worldwide.

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