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Facebook urges users to scrutinise content in latest bid to fight misinformation

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·2-min read

Facebook has launched an online campaign to help users spot misinformation, offering tips on how to scrutinise content and avoid being taken in by misleading claims.

The new scheme will see online ads on the platform which urge people to “check the source, check how it makes you feel, check the context”.

The social network’s initiative is particularly targeting misinformation around Covid-19 and the vaccination programme, two areas that have been the subject of a number of conspiracy theories and misinformation during the pandemic.

The scheme has been launched in partnership with the World Health Organisation and a number of fact-checking firms, including Full Fact in the UK.

Facebook media literacy ads
Facebook will encourage users to scrutinise the claims they see in online content (Facebook)

The ads will encourage people to check the source and scrutinise content, even if it appears science-based, check how it makes them feel and think about how misleading claims aim to manipulate feelings to get attention, and check the context by looking to public health authorities for confirmation of the claims made.

As well as the new prompts, the social network has launched a new dedicated website that will detail how the company is tackling misinformation on the platform.

Facebook, alongside other platforms, has been criticised for the amount of misinformation that has been able to spread online during the pandemic.

But the social network said it hopes this latest effort to improve media literacy among users would have a positive effect.

Steve Hatch, Facebook vice president for northern Europe, said: “The fight against Covid-19 is at a critical stage and connecting people with accurate information is more important than ever. Improving media literacy in partnership with Full Fact is one of a number of steps we’ve taken to tackle coronavirus related misinformation.

“Working in lockstep with the Government and NHS we’ve directed over 10 million visits to their websites with the latest accurate information on the virus.

“We’ve partnered with the NHS on the launch of Facebook vaccine profile frames to allow people to show their support and enthusiasm for getting vaccinated.

“And we’ve removed over 12 million pieces of misinformation with false and harmful claims about the virus and the approved vaccines on our platforms.

“This isn’t our first move in the fight against misinformation and it certainly won’t be our last, but we are committed to playing our part and making sure everyone has access to accurate information.”