16 April 2020

BCS has responded to the announcement that Facebook is to begin showing messages to people who have interacted with misinformation about coronavirus, guiding them to official advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The social network says it will start showing messages in the News Feed to anyone who had interacted with a post that had since been removed by the site.

Facebook says the messages will connect people with the WHO’s Mythbusters page, which details how a number of claims about Covid-19 are not true. The aim is to try to stop the spread of misinformation offline, as well as on its own platform.

Dr Bill Mitchell OBE, Director of Policy at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “Social media companies need to be revolutionary not evolutionary on this issue. Their approach has been quite conventional so far and it hasn’t had the necessary effect.

“At least linking to WHO advice means that people are directed to the truth and it will have a chance to compete for their attention with the misinformation that continues to be persuasive and harmful.”

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