Facebook has many widely criticized content moderation rules, but the company’s approach to tackling medical misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be one of its most controversial. On the one hand, many experts felt that Facebook was not doing enough to handle the problem, while on the other, many users and advocates felt their views were being stifled. Now, the company has reached a decision that is certain to ignite this controversy all over again. This week, Facebook announced that it is rolling back its measures to moderate COVID-19 misinformation around the world.
According to the social media giant, because COVID-19 is no longer deemed a global emergency, the company doesn’t need to crack down on misinformation surrounding the disease as hard as it once did.
“We will take a more tailored approach to our COVID-19 misinformation rules… In countries that have a COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, we will continue to remove content for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policies,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We are consulting with health experts to understand which claims and categories of misinformation could continue to pose this risk. Our COVID-19 misinformation rules will no longer be in effect globally as the global public health emergency declaration that triggered those rules has been lifted.”
This seems like pretty flawed logic, and it’s certain to upset many of the medical experts who felt Facebook was ignoring the problem the first time around. However, the company seems eager to shirk its responsibilities, and there’s likely nothing stopping it from doing so.
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