Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have already been reported in a number of countries across Africa including now Eastern Africa.
Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda have all reported cases of the same. Facebook has come in to curb the spread of information about the virus that has since been declared a global pandemic.
The company aims to help keep people safe and informed globally, and locally through local partnerships, and updates to its platform.
To achieve this, Facebook promises to partner with organizations like health agencies and NGOs who are actively using its platforms to share accurate information about the situation, including on Pages. To help bolster and extend these efforts, the company is also providing ad credits to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Facebook will also support global health organizations in fundraising. The company plans to support the UNF/WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund Facebook Fundraiser with $10M in matching donations.
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“As people come together on Facebook for this critical relief effort, we’re supporting the UNF/WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund Facebook Fundraiser with $10M (Ksh 1 billion) in matching donations. We’re also working with the CDC Foundation to launch a Facebook Fundraiser in the coming weeks, and we will also match up to $10M (Ksh 1 billion),” reads a statement from Facebook.
The company will also limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus through advertising. It launched a new policy prohibiting ads for products that refer to the coronavirus in ways intended to create a panic or imply that their products guarantee a cure or prevent people from contracting it.
Facebook will also start to remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities. This kind of misinformation could cause harm to people who believe them.
“We are doing this as an extension of our existing policies to remove content that could cause physical harm. We’re focusing on claims that are designed to discourage treatment or taking appropriate precautions,” said Facebook in the statement.
In addition, Facebook has also moved WHO and other authoritative sources to top of Search, so people can easily find the most accurate information.
“We’ll also no longer allow people to search for COVID-19 related AR effects unless they are developed in partnership with a recognized health organization,” noted the company.