Facebook to label all COVID-19 vaccine posts, launching vaccination sign-up tool

In an effort to combat misinformation, Facebook Inc. announced Monday that it will begin labeling all posts that discuss COVID-19 vaccines.

The social media giant also confirmed it has partnered with the Boston Children’s Hospital to launch a tool that will help U.S. users identify sites where they can get a coronavirus vaccine, The Hill reported.

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According to a blog post, Facebook intends to add labels with information from the World Health Organization to any Facebook or Instagram posts that discuss the safety of vaccines. Specifically, the labels will state that vaccines go through safety and efficacy testing before approval is granted.

In an interview with Reuters, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said that the company had taken viral false claims “very seriously” but admitted there is “a huge gray area of people who have concerns ... some of which some people would call misinformation and some of which other people would call doubt.”

“The best thing to do in that huge gray area is just to show up with authoritative information in a helpful way, be a part of the conversation and do it with health experts,” Cox told the outlet.

The company also announced via the blog post that it is launching a tool in the United States to provide people information about where to get COVID-19 vaccines and adding a COVID-19 information area to its photo-sharing site Instagram.

According to The Hill, Facebook will then roll out labels in the coming weeks for more general posts about the vaccines that will direct users to more information and plans to eventually offer more targeted labels that include subtopics about the inoculations.

The safety labels will be launched globally in English, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Arabic and French, with additional languages expected to be added in the coming weeks, the outlet reported.

In its blog post, the company stated it has removed an additional 2 million pieces of content from both Facebook and Instagram since expanding its list of banned false claims about the coronavirus and vaccines in February.

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