Facebook to give free ads to the WHO, take down coronavirus ‘conspiracy theories’

Facebook says it will give the World Health Organization free advertising for its COVID-19 response and take down false claims about the virus.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has clashed with Twitter over the Donald Trump fact-check.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has clashed with Twitter over the Donald Trump fact-check. Source: DPA

Facebook Inc will provide free advertisements to the World Health Organization (WHO) as it seeks to ensure users are not misinformed about the virus, its risks and how to react to it, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has said.

"We're giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support," Mr Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

Users who search for posts on the virus on Facebook would now see a pop-up that directs them to the WHO or local health authority for the latest information, Mr Zuckerberg said.

He also pledged again that the company would remove "false claims and conspiracy theories" flagged by leading global health organisations to help combat misinformation about the coronavirus.

“We’re also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation - for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

Facebook will be working with global health experts and give support and "millions more in ad credits" to other organisations.

In February, the company said it would ban advertisements for products offering any cures or prevention around the coronavirus outbreak, and those that create a sense of urgency around the situation.

The disease, believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has spread around the world, infecting nearly 93,000 people globally as of 3 March.

Other social media platforms have been taking steps to improve their coverage of the virus.

Searches on Pinterest for "coronavirus" take users to a curated web page while WHO launched an account on video app TikTok late last week.

Published 4 March 2020 at 8:59pm, updated 5 March 2020 at 5:43am
Source: Reuters - SBS