HEALTH

FACEBOOK ASSISTS PROVIDING ACCURATE CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION- A FEATURE BY FARHAN SADEED

Facebook recently launched Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Centre. The social media giant, Facebook is taking steps to publish accurate & updated information regarding the coronavirus. As misinformation and false information grows about the virus, Zuckerberg stated Facebook’s efforts in their service.

Facebook has launched a new program for helping government health organizations and UN health agencies to partner with developers. Their collaboration will help to publish accurate information and respond to people’s questions. Developers will help these organizations for free in times of this pandemic. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) information center has been added in the explore section of newsfeed (PC version). In Facebook Mobile App, it is added in the rightmost menu section

Now, as the pandemic took mass infections and deaths, people are in panic. A lot of information provided on the social media seems irrelevant and unproven. The correct set of information is necessary to protect against such a virus. Besides, lockdown stresses most of our mental health. The COVID-19 Information center has also dedicated a blog section regarding the wellness and mental health of its users.

A lot of conspiracies and hoaxes about the coronavirus have been spread on social media. Claims regarding the virus has been part of a Chinese “covert biological weapons programme” is surfing on the web. Numerous conspiracy groups on Facebook have stated that the virus was man-made.

The 5G conspiracy is also popular. Barrie Tower, a conspiracy theorist blames 5G for degrading the immune system. Since then, many telecom engineers have been chased down the streets. Drinking bleach as a cure has also been a popular misinformation. Many reports of bleach intake has been found lately.

As most people stay at home amid the lockdown, Facebook has seen an increase of its messenger service. Earlier in May, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube had a hard time controlling the spread of a Pandemic video. The Pandemic video contained various conspiracy theories. Judy Mikovits, a controversial medical researcher, stated that wearing masks make people sick.

For Bangladesh, the corona.gov.bd has already been linked to the ‘information center’. Facebook pages ad website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, UNICEF Bangladesh, Directorate General of Health Service, have been given in the tab. The information center has been created with aims of serving accurate information and update of coronavirus in Bangladesh, removing harmful content, supporting health and economic relief and keeping people connected and updated in Bangladesh.

Facebook has also proposed an update on its fight against harmful misinformation. They have suggested to put anti-misinformation messages in news feeds of those who have reacted to posts that Facebook later removed. They will be encouraged to visit World Health Organization’s site.

WhatsApp (now a subsidiary of Facebook Inc.)  also donated $1 million to Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network.

These efforts might make our battle against misinformation and conspiracies more worthy and effective.


The writer studied from CSE at Military Institute of Science and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

You can reach him: [email protected]


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