Facebook to remove posts promoting fake coronavirus cures

Posts that promote fake miracle cures and misinformation about coronavirus will be removed by Facebook in its latest attempt to deal with the spread of harmful content.

The social network said it is building on existing efforts to tackle dangerous conspiracy theories, such as false suggestions that drinking bleach cures the virus.

Decisions on which content needs to be taken down will be taken with the help of leading global health organisations and local health authorities.

Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s head of health, said: “We’re focusing on claims that are designed to discourage treatment or taking appropriate precautions.

Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

“This includes claims related to false cures or prevention methods – like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus – or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available.”

The tech giant also said hashtags on its Instagram platform that peddle false information will be blocked or restricted, and it is “conducting proactive sweeps to find and remove as much of this content as we can”.

In a bid to provide people with trusted sources of information, Facebook will publish relevant and up-to-date details at the top of the News Feed based on guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mr Jin added: “Our global network of third-party fact-checkers are continuing their work reviewing content and debunking false claims that are spreading related to the coronavirus.

“When they rate information as false, we limit its spread on Facebook and Instagram and show people accurate information from these partners.

Woman in facemask
Fake Facebook posts have promoted dangerous ways to ‘cure’ the virus (PA)

“We also send notifications to people who already shared or are trying to share this content to alert them that it’s been fact-checked.”

The development comes as two members of the same family tested positive for coronavirus in England.

Chinese health officials said on Friday morning that the death toll in the country from the virus had risen to 213, up from 170 a day earlier, with the number of known cases rising from 7,711 to 9,692.

No deaths have occurred outside China, although 82 cases have been confirmed across 18 countries.

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