Facebook spreading misleading health content amid pandemic, claims activist group

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Aug 20, 2020, 08:43 PM(IST)

File photo: Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The WHO had to bust at least 40 myths about cures. But, super-spreaders of bogus health news got four times more views than the WHO page

An activist group has sent out a warning that social media giant Facebook is a danger to public health. Over the last one year, misleading health content has got 3.8 billion views on Facebook and it is struggling to tackle the infodemic.

The situation has worsened as fake news about health peaked during the pandemic which garnered around 460 million views in April.

Fearing the trend, the World Health Organisation (WHO) created a website full of mythbusters like 5G mobile networks does not spread COVID-19, exposing oneself to high temperatures does not help, consuming alcohol does not offer immunity against the Wuhan virus.

The WHO had to bust at least 40 myths about cures. However, super-spreaders of bogus health news got four times more views than the WHO page.

Just 42 Facebook pages are followed by 28 million people and accounts for 800 million views. The researchers blame Mark Zuckerberg. They said that Zuckerberg promised to act on fake news during the pandemic but the algorithm is sabotaging the efforts pushing 2.7 billion users towards bogus health news.

In response, Facebook claims to have taken necessary steps. According to them, warning labels were applied on 98 million COVID-19 posts with seven million posts with potential to cause harm were removed.

Over two billion people were directed to the resources posted by health authorities and it turns out only 16 per cent fake health claims carried a warning label.

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