A year into the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook announced on Monday that it has removed more than 12 million pieces of misinformation from Facebook and Instagram and connected more than two billion people from 189 countries to reliable information about the coronavirus.
The social media giant has partnered with more than 120 governments and organizations, such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF, to deliver information about COVID-19, including through helplines on WhatsApp.
Facebook provided researchers and public health officials from more than 450 organizations in nearly 70 countries with real-time data and tools to help inform disease forecasting and understand the effectiveness of prevention measures through their Data for Good program. Publicly available datasets were downloaded more than a million times by nonprofits, public health officials and researchers.
Looking forward to this year, Facebook is focusing on supporting vaccination efforts and sharing accurate information about the vaccines.
Facebook will help users find out where and when they can get vaccinated. This week, people in the US will be able to find links in Facebook's COVID-19 Information Center to local health websites to help people understand if they're eligible to receive the vaccination and how to do so. This feature will be expanded to more countries and improved in the coming weeks.
The company is also giving health ministries, NGOs and UN agencies $120 million in ad credits to help them reach billions of people with COVID-19 vaccine and health information, as well as training and marketing support to help governments and organizations quickly reach the right people with the latest vaccine information.
Facebook's COVID-19 Information Center will soon be added to Instagram to allow access to vaccine information across all of Facebook's apps. Health authorities and governments are also being helped to share vaccine information over WhatsApp.
In Indonesia, Facebook helped create a WhatsApp helpline for COVID vaccine information and in just five days, 500,000 out of 1.3 million medical workers in the country used the service. South Africa and the WHO are working to create similar helplines as well.
Facebook is also working to amplify content for communities with lower vaccination rates and access, including in Native American, black and Latinx communities, among others.
In the past year, Facebook reached more than 26 million people with a public figure campaign encouraging people to #WearAMask, which resulted in a 7-point increase in people reporting that wearing a mask in public is very or extremely important. Facebook plans to use the insights from the campaign to inform vaccine information campaigns and help build confidence in vaccines.
Facebook announced as well on Monday that it would expand the list of false claims that it would remove to include additional debunked claims about COVID-19 and vaccines.