Apr 16, 2020 - Health

Facebook will notify users who engaged with coronavirus misinformation

The Facebook logos. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook will begin informing people who have engaged with coronavirus misinformation on its main Facebook app, the company announced Thursday. It will guide those people to resources from the World Health Organization.

Why it matters: The tech giant typically doesn't inform users if they've engage in debunked content, aside from informing readers about Russian disinformation.

Details: Facebook will use its News Feeds to notify users who have liked, commented or reacted to a coronavirus post on Facebook that has been debunked through its fact-checking process.

  • The company is still testing different variations of what the notifications will look like, according to a spokesperson.

Our thought bubble: Facebook and other platforms have become a lot more aggressive in their misinformation policies during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • It's hard to believe that after the pandemic, these policies will go away.

By the numbers: During the month of March, the tech giant says it displayed warnings on about 40 million posts on Facebook, as a result of 4,000 fact checks from Facebook’s fact checking partners.

  • When a user encounters misinformation, Facebook has been directing them to resources with accurate information about the virus.
  • To date, Facebook says it's directed over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other health authorities through its COVID-19 Information Center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Facebook says that more than 350 million people globally have clicked through those pop-ups to learn more. 

Between the lines: In the past, Facebook has struggled to figure out the best way to flag misinformation without incentivizing people to click further into it.

  • In 2017 it said it would no longer use "Disputed Flags" — red flags next to fake news articles — to identify fake news for users because it caused more people to click on the debunked posts.
  • But now Facebook says that the warning labels seem to be working. According to the company, only 5% of people were exposed to those labels went on to view the original content.

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Jun 3, 2020 - Technology

Zuckerberg's tense meeting with Facebook employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At a contentious online meeting with Facebook staff Tuesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his decision not to act against controversial messages posted by President Trump.

Why it matters: Facebook had gotten a brief reprieve from intense criticism over speech issues as the world grappled with the coronavirus and the platform served as a communications lifeline for many. That reprieve appears to be over — and the divisions of this moment are spreading inside the company now as well.

Jun 2, 2020 - Technology

Civil rights leaders blast Facebook after meeting with Zuckerberg

Screenshot of an image some Facebook employees used as part of their virtual walkout on Monday.

A trio of civil rights leaders issued a blistering statement Monday following a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives to discuss the social network's decision to leave up comments from President Trump they say amount to calls for violence and voter suppression.

Why it matters: While Twitter has flagged two of the president's Tweets, one for being potentially misleading about mail-in ballot procedures and another for glorifying violence, Facebook has left those and other posts up, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying he doesn't want to be the "arbiter of truth."

Updated 6 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Florida reported on Wednesday its largest number of new novel coronavirus cases in a single day since April 17. 1,317 people tested positive to take the state total to 58,764, per the state's health department. Despite the rise, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said bars and clubs could reopen on Friday.

By the numbers: More than 107,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over 1.8 million people have tested positive, per data from Johns Hopkins. More than 479,000 Americans have recovered and over 18 million tests have been conducted.