Facebook is clamping down on fake news and has expanded its list of bannable content for misinformation related to COVID-19 and vaccines.

In a blog post on Monday, February 8 the company explained that they are expanding their efforts to remove false claims on Facebook and Instagram about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines and vaccines in general during the pandemic.

“Since December, we’ve removed false claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts. Today, following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines,” reads the blog post.

This includes:

– COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured

– Vaccines are not effective at preventing the disease they are meant to protect against

– It’s safer to get the disease than to get the vaccine

– Vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism

The policy will be enforced immediately, with a particular focus on pages, groups and accounts that violate these rules. Groups, pages and accounts on Facebook and Instagram that repeatedly share these debunked claims may be removed altogether.

“We are also requiring some admins for groups with admins or members who have violated our COVID-19 policies to temporarily approve all posts within their group. Claims about COVID-19 or vaccines that do not violate these policies will still be eligible for review by our third-party fact-checkers, and if they are rated false, they will be labelled and demoted,” continues the blog post.

This ban will apply to user-generated posts as well as paid advertisements. The same restrictions will be applied to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

The company is also improving its search results so when people search for vaccine or COVID-19 related content on Facebook, the app will promote relevant, authoritative results and provide third-party resources to connect people to expert information about vaccines.

Also read: Facebook to restrict political content on their platform

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