People often take to social media to stay updated during situations of crisis. And more so in the prevalent situation, social media users have been constantly following up on platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay informed about the coronavirus outbreak. However, on Tuesday, March 17, not many were expecting to see that Facebook had started marking a few authentic posts as 'spam.'
Users took to Twitter to post that many news articles related to coronavirus and COVID-19 were marked as being ‘Against Community Standards’ by Facebook. According to the social networking giant’s Vice-President of Integrity, Guy Rosen, it was due to a bug in the anti-spam system.
“We are on this - this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back. More soon.”
Two hours later, he informed that the posts which were incorrectly removed, including the ones on topics related to COVID-19, have been restored by Facebook.
Earlier on the same day, the social networking giant also agreed to offer $1 million to its partners in the International Fact-Checking Network working on the COVID-19 related misinformation. According to media reports, the money would consist of ‘flash grants’ of up to $50,000, according to the Poynter Institute, which has been coordinating the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance in at least 45 countries.
Facebook noted that it had already taken steps to limit misinformation and harmful content about the pandemic, including banning ads intended to create panic or promote unproven cures.
Facebook has also announced that it was offering $100 million to help small businesses in 30 countries to cope with the economic slowdown, due to the pandemic. Facebook said it will give cash grants to as many as 30,000 enterprises.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)