On Facebook, bad actors often seek to take advantage of stories in the news to scam unsuspecting users — and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception. The social media giant has been forced to contend with a surge of misinformation surrounding the virus, including a recent video from conservative outlet Breitbart that made false claims about a potential cure. Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms banded together to scrub the video from the web — but not before it was shared by the president and viewed millions of times.
False coronavirus content is still thriving online, but one positive development is that it has forced Facebook and other major tech companies to work together to combat the problem.
“We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world,” a joint statement from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other tech giants said. “We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
Though this newfound spirit of teamwork is encouraging, Facebook was still too slow to remove this misinformation. It’s good that these companies acted, but when a piece of false content has already gone viral before it’s removed, these actions are too little, too late.
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