Social media giant Facebook on Thursday, February 4 said that it will pull down misinformation related to safety, efficacy, side-effects and constituents of coronavirus vaccines, The Indian Express reported.
Alice Budisatrijo, who manages Facebook's Misinformation Policy, said that false information about vaccines violated the company's rules and would be taken down from the platform. Budisatrijo said that the decision was taken in view of several nations starting the vaccination process.
Facebook says it has removed COVID-19 misinformation that contributes to physical harm, including false treatments, incorrect information about the availability of services, such as hospitals, and the severity of the outbreak.
The company has revealed in the past that almost 12 million pieces of COVID-19 misinformation were pulled down between March and October 2020, while about 167 million pieces of content had a warning label applied in relation to misinformation related to the virus between the same period.
Facebook executives also said that nearly 95 per cent of the time people who saw warning labels around COVID-19 misinformation did not visit the links and were not exposed to false information.
"We're focused on claims that if somebody relies on the misinformation, it makes them more likely to get sick or not get the right treatment," she said. "And then we also prohibit false claims related to Covid vaccines, now that we know the Covid vaccines are starting to get approved and rolled out in many countries."
"So claims about the safety, efficacy, serious side-effects, ingredients and conspiracy theories about the vaccines, we remove them as well," she said.
Budisatrijo also emphasised on how the company has 2 billion users and removing such content can be a challenging task.
"Even with the combination of artificial intelligence and the human reviewers that we have all over the world, we can never 100% guarantee that content that violates our policies is not on the platform," Budisatrijo said.
Facebook's misinformation policy usually refers to unverified claims that "contribute to the risk of imminent violence or physical harm". However, the company is now changing the policy in tandem with changing online habits.
Facebook came under the scanner in India in 2020 after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company's India's Public Policy director Ankhi Das rejected the idea of taking down incendiary posts by BJP leaders, warning that this could hurt the company's "commercial interests" in India.
The second report pointed at how the company failed to take action against Hindutva group Bajrang Dal due to political and business prospects and safety of its employees.