Facebook to label vaccine posts to combat COVID-19 misinfo

Facebook is adding informational labels to posts about vaccines as it expands efforts to counter COVID-19-related misinformation flourishing on its platforms

“For example, we’re adding a label on posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines that notes COVID-19 vaccines go through tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved," Zuckerberg said.

The social network is also adding a tool to help get users vaccinated by connecting them to information about where and when they can get their shot.

Facebook and Instagram have been criticized for allowing anti-vaccination propaganda to spread and for being woefully slow in weeding out the misinformation, often with fact-checks, labels and other restrained measures.

“This announcement falls well short of what is needed to solve the crisis of anti-vaccine lies polluting social media users’ timelines," said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, a critic of social media companies' handling of hate speech and misinformation.

For years, Facebook and other social platforms have allowed anti-vaccination propaganda to flourish, making it difficult to stamp out such sentiments now. And their efforts to weed out other types of COVID-19 misinformation — often with fact-checks, informational labels and other restrained measures, has been woefully slow.

The Associated Press recently identified more than a dozen Facebook pages and Instagram accounts, collectively boasting millions of followers, that have made false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine or discouraged people from taking it. Some of these pages have existed for years.

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