As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold around the world, Facebook has taken strong actions to prevent the spread of medical misinformation on its platform. The latest example of this is a 26-minute documentary called “Plandemic” that has gone viral across social media. The video traffics in a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was created in order for the pharmaceutical industry to make money off vaccines. Facebook finally took action late this week to remove the content — but not before it had 1.8 million views, 17,000 comments and nearly 150,000 shares.
There are many wild claims in the documentary, but among the most medically dangerous was one that said wearing face masks actually makes it more likely that people will get sick. And for Facebook, this was apparently the “fact” that crossed the line.
“Suggesting that wearing a mask can make you sick could lead to imminent harm, so we’re removing the video,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
It’s a good thing that Facebook acted to remove a video like this, but there’s no doubt the company needs to get faster at taking action. After all, the thing had already exploded by the time it got taken it down. As usual with Facebook, even when it does the right thing, it’s probably too little, too late.
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