Facebook would probably be the last place you’d turn for accurate information on how to get a COVID-19 vaccination, but the social network is working with hospitals, governments, and health authorities to help people get the answers …
CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement this morning.
Today we’re launching a global campaign to help bring 50 million people a step closer to getting Covid-19 vaccines.
We’ve already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative Covid-19 information. Now that many countries are moving towards vaccinations for all adults, we’re working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated as well.
First, we’re launching a tool that shows you when and where you can get vaccinated, and gives you a link to make an appointment. This will be in the Covid Information Center, which we’ll show people right in their News Feed. We’ve already seen people use Facebook to find vaccination appointments, so this should enable millions more people to do the same.
Second, we’re bringing the Covid Information Center to Instagram, and we’ll show it to people prominently there too.
Third, we’re working with health authorities and governments to expand their WhatsApp chatbots to help people register for vaccines. More than 3 billion messages related to Covid have already been sent by governments, nonprofits and international organizations to citizens through official WhatsApp chatbots, so this update will help with the vaccination effort as well.
The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work. They’re our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life. I’m looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.
For the information on when and where you can get a COVID-19 vaccination, Facebook has partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital.
The locations in this tool are provided by VaccineFinder and include hours of operation, contact info and links to make an appointment. You can access this tool in the COVID-19 Information Center and it will be supported in 71 different languages. We plan to expand to other countries as vaccines are available more widely.
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with Facebook to build tools that aim to support consumers in their search for COVID-19 vaccines. Improving vaccine access and equity across the country will be a critical step in achieving herd immunity and bringing this pandemic to a close,” said John Brownstein, CIO of Boston Children’s Hospital
Facebook is also working hard to remove the deluge of hoax posts about the vaccines, much of it believed to originate from a Russian disinformation campaign designed to drive demand for its own vaccine.
In February, in consultation with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization, we expanded the list of false claims we will remove during the pandemic to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines. Since launching our new policy applying both to old and new content, we have removed an additional 2 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram. The majority of this additional content was previously subject to warning screens, and is now removed from the platform.
We’re continuing to expand our efforts to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation by adding labels to Facebook and Instagram posts that discuss the vaccines. These labels contain credible information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization. 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. This label is rolling out globally in English, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Arabic and French, and we are adding additional languages in the coming weeks.
In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out labels on all posts generally about COVID-19 vaccines that point people to the COVID-19 Information Center globally, and plan to add additional targeted labels about COVID-19 vaccine subtopics. We will also add an additional screen when someone goes to share a post on Facebook and Instagram with an informational COVID-19 vaccine label. It will provide more information so people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share.
Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash