Facebook Inc. is set to provide pro bono advertisements for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that its users access the right information about Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg stated this in an official statement released on his verified Facebook account, Wednesday morning.
He noted that Facebook is a critical platform to provide accurate information about the virus, its risks, and appropriate reactions, and to support the WHO efforts. The company would be giving “the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support”.
Zuckerberg advised users to desist from spreading harmful misinformation and hoaxes that create a sense of urgency around the situation.
“It’s important that everyone has a place to share their experiences and talk about the outbreak, but as our community standards make clear, it’s not okay to share something that puts people in danger,” he said.
With this new development, Facebook users will henceforth see a pop-up that directs them to WHO or the local health authority for the latest verified information.
Facebook will also be working with national ministries of health and organizations like the WHO, CDC, and UNICEF to help them disseminate timely and accurate information on the coronavirus; while also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation by claiming to have products or services that can cure the virus. Such claims and other conspiracy theories would be removed from Facebook.
In addition, Zuckerberg also revealed that researchers were already using aggregated and anonymized Facebook data – including mobile data and population density maps – to better understand how the virus is spreading.
Other social media platforms are also going down this path as a search for “coronavirus” on Pinterest now takes users to a curated web page designed for that purpose.