Facebook to Label, Add Information to Posts on Covid-19 Vaccine

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Facebook Inc., trying to counteract the spread of false information about vaccines, is planning to label posts about Covid-19 shots with a link to information from medical authorities including the World Health Organization.

On Facebook-owned Instagram, which already has information labels on some posts, the wording will become clearer on messages from users seeking to discourage people from getting shots. For example, the company plans to say on some posts that “Covid-19 vaccines go through many tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved.”

Facebook and Instagram have been used for years to spread fear about vaccines, because information with the potential to scare others and spark emotions has a better chance of getting shared and commented on, boosting it into more feeds on the platforms. The company, seeing the rise in vaccine hesitancy during the Covid-19 pandemic, has started to take stronger measures, banning repeat offenders who spend false information and directing users to a central Covid-19 information center. It announced the new labels Monday in a blog post.

The strategy is similar to the one Facebook used around the U.S. presidential election, when any post trying to deny Joe Biden’s win was labeled with a link to accurate information.

The company said it also wants to assist users in booking vaccine appointments directly through Facebook, Instagram and Facebook-owned WhatsApp, with a goal of helping 50 million users do so.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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