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Facebook forcing users reading certain COVID-19 news to disgraced WHO: 'Could a Facebook post kill grandma?'
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Facebook forcing users reading certain COVID-19 news to disgraced WHO: 'Could a Facebook post kill grandma?'

Interesting turn of events

Facebook will begin forcibly rerouting social media users who interact with misinformation surrounding COVID-19 to the World Health Organization's website for clarification.

The World Health Organization is under fire for its decidedly improper response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which ultimately led to deaths that likely could have been prevented from occurring.

The organization also previously made statements that appeared to mimic Chinese propaganda about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move seemed to be an apparent cover-up attempt to avoid any Chinese culpability.

What are the details?

According to a Thursday report from NBC News, the social media giant will begin redirecting users to the WHO if they come across what it believes to be misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.

The company insisted that the action is intended to cut down on the spread of fake news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

"Users who have liked, commented on, or reacted to coronavirus information that has been flagged 'harmful' by Facebook and removed, will now be directed to a website debunking coronavirus myths from the World Health Organization," the outlet reported.

In a statement, Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of integrity, said the company aims to partner users with "authoritative sources" to get factual information.

"We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook," he said.

In March, Facebook launched its own COVID-19 information resource center, which is a repository of select information from federal and local governments as well as advisories from the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outlet reported that such an effort has resulted in at least 2 billion users having access to "reliable health resources from the WHO and other organizations."

Joan Donovan, who is director of Harvard University's Technology and Social Change Research Project, said, "Could a Facebook post kill grandma? It's more likely than ever with the lack of curation of COVID-19 information. Facebook has come a long way to change some of their product's design by implementing fact-checking, but we are seeing manipulators evolve much quicker. "

"Without a plan for robust curation and strategic amplification, we will continue to suffer the ill effects of health misinformation," Donovan added.

What else?

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that he would cease all U.S. funding for the WHO.

During a briefing, Trump said, "Today I am instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus."

In December, while some experts suspected the possibility of human-to-human transmission, both China and the WHO insisted that human-to-human transmission was not an issue.

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