In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook is supporting the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed. Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in January, we’ve taken steps to make sure everyone has access to accurate information, stop misinformation and harmful content, and support global health experts, local governments, businesses and communities.
Here’s an overview of our work and shortcuts to more information. We’ll continue to add to this post as we announce updates.
1. Making sure everyone has accurate information
- Launching the Coronavirus Information Center on Facebook
- Connecting people to accurate information and helpful resources
- Providing credible information and supporting health authorities
- Connecting people with credible health information on Instagram
- Supporting fact-checkers and local news organizations
- Getting expert health tips and information from Dr. Fauci
- Launching the WHO Health Alert on WhatsApp
2. Stopping misinformation and harmful content
- Limiting misinformation and harmful content
- Banning ads for medical face masks
- Prohibiting exploitative tactics in ads
- Removing misinformation related to COVID-19 on Instagram
- Banning ads for hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits
- Keeping our platform safe with remote and reduced content review
3. Supporting global health experts and relief efforts
- Matching $20 million in donations to support COVID-19 relief efforts
- Supporting global health organizations with free ads and more
- Empowering partners with data and tools
- Working closely with industry partners on COVID-19 response efforts
4. Supporting local governments, communities and businesses
- Investing $100 million in small businesses
- Supporting local governments, businesses and community leaders
- Keeping our people and our platform safe
- Helping people stay connected using WhatsApp
- Offering Workplace to government and emergency organizations for free
- Supporting people and businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak
- Minimizing disruptions for businesses and partners on our platform
Update on March 20, 2020 at 2:45PM PT:
Today we launched the World Health Organization’s Health Alert on WhatsApp. The WHO Health Alert is free to use and will answer common questions about COVID-19. It provides timely, reliable information about how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as well as travel advice, coronavirus myth debunking and more. To contact the WHO Health Alert, save the number +41 79 893 1892 in your phone contacts and then text the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. The service is initially launching in English but will be available in all six United Nations languages (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) within the coming weeks.
Update on March 19, 2020 at 7:22PM PT:
We recently announced that we’re temporarily sending content reviewers home. We want to make sure our platform remains a safe place for people to connect during this time, but with a reduced and remote workforce, below are some ways our content review processes will be impacted.
Policy Enforcement: We will continue to enforce our policies and prioritize preventing and disrupting harm across our platform. We are conducting human rights due diligence, looking at potential risks, and putting in place contingency plans that both prioritize the safety of our content reviewers and support the integrity of our platform. As Mark discussed on a press call, for example, we have shifted certain content review work to full time employees and are focusing on areas including child safety, terrorism, suicide and self-injury, and harmful content related to COVID-19.
Some contract reviewers will work from home, but with a reduced and remote workforce, we will now rely more on our automated systems to detect and remove violating content and disable accounts. As a result, we expect to make more mistakes, and reviews will take longer than normal, but we will continue to monitor how our systems are performing and make adjustments. In addition, reviewing content can be challenging, and working from home presents new obstacles in providing support to our teams, but we’re working to ensure our content reviewers have the resources and help they need during this time.
User Reports: When people report content to us that they believe violates our policies, they will see a new message letting them know that we have fewer content reviewers available and will prioritize reported content that has the greatest potential to harm our community. This means some reports will not be reviewed as quickly as they used to be and we will not get to some reports at all.
Appeals: Normally when we remove content, we offer the person who posted it the option to request that we review the content again if they think we made a mistake. Now, given our reduced workforce, we’ll give people the option to tell us that they disagree with our decision and we’ll monitor that feedback to improve our accuracy, but we likely won’t review content a second time.
We’re working hard to minimize any impact on people as they use Facebook, Instagram and Messenger during this time, but we know some may feel this impact either when reporting content to us or appealing content we remove.
We’re doing everything we can to keep our global teams and the community that uses our apps safe while continuing to provide the services people and businesses rely on.