Facebook has made a concerted effort over the past month to crack down on spam and fraudulent ads related to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, according to a story in The Guardian this week, the company is also stepping up its fight against misinformation and conspiracy theories — most notably ones that link 5G infrastructure to the spread of the virus.
According to advocates, far-right groups have increasingly seized on the idea that the next-generation mobile technology is somehow encouraging the spread of the coronavirus. These groups have sprung up on Facebook and accumulated thousands of followers in a short amount of time, with the most extreme advocating for users to attack or set fire to telecommunications towers.
“We are taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms and connect people to accurate information,” Facebook said in a statement. “Content encouraging attacks on 5G masts clearly violates our policies and we have removed a number of pages, groups and posts… we have also begun removing false claims that 5G technology causes the symptoms of or contraction of COVID-19.”
In a case this extreme, Facebook obviously had to take action fast. However, it would be nice if the social media giant acted this swiftly to remove more run-of-the-mill fake content.
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