Facebook Ireland launches campaign to help users spot false vaccine news

ireland
Facebook Ireland Launches Campaign To Help Users Spot False Vaccine News
The Facebook logo is seen reflected in a pair of glasses on a computer keyboard in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on March 4, 2021. As part of its policy on COVID-19-related misinformation, Facebook will start removing posts with false claims about vaccines. (Photo by Jaap Arriens / Sipa USA)
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James Cox

Today, Facebook Ireland is launching a new campaign in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its European fact-checking partners to educate people on how to spot false vaccination news.

The campaign, ‘Together Against Covid-19 Misinformation’ launches at an important juncture in the rollout of Ireland’s national Covid-19 vaccination programme.

‘Together Against Covid-19 Misinformation’ will roll out to newsfeeds in Ireland through a series of ads encouraging people to connect with accurate information from credible sources such as Ireland’s Health Services Executive (HSE), and reduce misinformation by asking them to check the following when viewing content online:

1. Check The Source: Scrutinise content, even if it appears science based.

2. Check How It Makes You Feel: False news can manipulate feelings for clicks.

3. Check The Context: Look to public health authorities to confirm content.

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This campaign has been launched to provide further tools, knowledge and resources to help inform people on how to detect false news — and ultimately stop sharing it.

Between March and October 2020, Facebook removed more than 12 million pieces of Covid-19 misinformation on Facebook and Instagram, and displayed warnings on about 167 million pieces of Covid-19 content on Facebook, pointing to debunking articles written by fact checking partners.

The HSE is experiencing significant increases in people accessing Covid-19 and vaccine information on their social channels. Since December 30th 2020, the HSE has reached over 9.2 million people on Facebook and had over 573,000 engagements on posts about Covid-19 health messaging.

The HSE’s #OurHealthService Covid-19 vaccine stories featuring real people getting the vaccine have reached around one million people per post; while their Instagram posts have reached over 669,000 people.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid: “Social media is an essential platform for us to communicate and we’ve used it very successfully to communicate our key messages to the majority of the population. We welcome the work Facebook is undertaking to help users spot false news in relation to Covid-19 and vaccines. Public safety remains our top priority and we will continue to share factual, up-to-date information from trusted sources, which will in turn allow people to make informed and confident decisions about Covid-19 vaccines.”

Dualta Ó Broin, head of Public Policy at Facebook Ireland said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have been connecting people to accurate information and reducing misinformation on our platforms. We are removing harmful misinformation about vaccines and Covid-19. . We also want to empower people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. This campaign will encourage users to connect with accurate information around vaccines, and will highlight the broader steps we are taking against misinformation on Facebook.”

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