Facebook has launched a new campaign in partnership with the WHO and its European fact-checking partners to educate people on how to spot false vaccination news.
The campaign, ‘Together Against Covid-19 Misinformation’ launches at an important juncture in the roll out of Ireland’s national Covid-19 vaccination programme, which reached a milestone of half a million vaccinations administered at the end of February.
‘Together Against Covid-19 Misinformation’ will roll out to Newsfeeds in Ireland through a series of ads encouraging people to connect with accurate information from credible sources such as Ireland’s Health Services Executive (HSE), and reduce misinformation by asking them to check the following when viewing content online;
1. Check The Source: Scrutinise content, even if it appears science based
2. Check How It Makes You Feel: False news can manipulate feelings for clicks
3. Check The Context: Look to public health authorities to confirm content
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Facebook has worked closely with the HSE - and global public health experts - to connect people to accurate information and tackle vaccine misinformation. This campaign has been launched to provide further tools, knowledge and resources to help inform people on how to detect false news - and ultimately stop sharing it.
Between March and October 2020, Facebook removed more than 12 million pieces of Covid-19 misinformation on Facebook and Instagram, and displayed warnings on about 167 million pieces of Covid-19 content on Facebook, pointing to debunking articles written by fact checking partners.
“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have been connecting people to accurate information and reducing misinformation on our platforms. We are removing harmful misinformation about vaccines and Covid-19,” said Dualta Ó Broin, Head of Public Policy at Facebook Ireland.
"We also want to empower people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. This campaign will encourage users to connect with accurate information around vaccines, and will highlight the broader steps we are taking against misinformation on Facebook.”
Facebook’s platforms also provide a channel for important public health messages.
The HSE is experiencing significant increases in people accessing Covid-19 and vaccine information on their social channels. Since December 30th 2020, the HSE has reached over 9.2 million people on Facebook and had over 573,000 engagements on posts about Covid-19 health messaging.
The HSE’s #OurHealthService Covid-19 vaccine stories featuring real people getting the vaccine have reached around 1 million people per post; while their Instagram posts have reached over 669,000 people.
Commenting on the campaign, HSE CEO, Paul Reid, said: “Social media is an essential platform for us to communicate and we’ve used it very successfully to communicate our key messages to the majority of the population.
“We welcome the work Facebook is undertaking to help users spot false news in relation to Covid-19 and vaccines.
“Public safety remains our top priority and we will continue to share factual, up-to-date information from trusted sources, which will in turn allow people to make informed and confident decisions about Covid-19 vaccines.”
For more information, visit Facebook's new website Taking Action Against Misinformation Across Our Apps which will give people more transparency around Facebook's Remove, Reduce and Inform strategy, Community Standards, and the steps taken to combat false news around global events such as Covid-19, elections and climate change.