Applause for Facebook’s fixing falsehoods

Applause for Facebook's fixing falsehoods

Caroline Slaughter, Contributing writer

The coronavirus can be cured by drinking bleach. Social distancing is ineffective. 5G towers
cause the spread of the coronavirus. These claims sound pretty preposterous, right? The sad
thing is, a lot of people believe them due to posts they’ve seen on Facebook. Facebook is
notorious for being filled with misinformation and shock-inducing claims that trick users into
believing information that is often harmful and extremely incorrect. Facebook is a major
contributor to hysteria and ignorance, and any action taken against creating such hysteria is
crucial.
In order to combat the spread of misinformation, Facebook recently announced that they will be
notifying users who have liked or interacted with posts that contain false information about the
coronavirus. The company also said that they are attempting to delete as many false posts
about the virus as possible in order to prevent the harmful spread of misinformation.
I believe this new update will help immensely with limiting hysteria about the virus and
preventing users’ access to information that is just plain wrong. This update is especially
relieving if you have family members who rely on Facebook for their news, and get spooked by
claims made by “scientists” who have most likely never seen a research facility or performed an
actual scientific experiment in real life.
I cannot tell you the amount of times my friends have asked me if I’ve heard about conspiracies or
supposed cures for the coronavirus that their grandmas and aunties shared with them from Facebook.
We always laugh at how preposterous such claims are and how worked up people get about them for no reason,
but the truth is that alot of people see those claims and believe them as if they’re proven fact.
I think Facebook has made great strides lately in order to limit misinformation on the site and
prevent harmful claims from spreading to users. However, I think more changes should be
made to the site in order to prevent who can share information, as well as to ascertain who truly
is an expert and who is simply pretending to be an expert in order to spread false information.
Facebook has made sure to provide links to health resources and promote health services,
which I strongly commend, and I hope they continue to move their content in a positive and
helpful direction.
I have questioned many of Facebook’s decisions in the past, but this decision is one that I can
absolutely get behind because it will greatly reduce the hysteria and chaos fueled by outlandish
claims on the site. I hope that by limiting the spread of misinformation on the site, this will also
limit the spread of foolish movements such as eating only alkaline foods or drinking alcohol
instead of water just because a Facebook doctor said that these tricks would cure the
coronavirus. Now that fake experts on Facebook can’t run wild spewing mindless claims as they
please, my hope is that the general public will be more informed and won’t give in to false
claims that can do great harm.