Facebook will provide WHO with free ads

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The FINANCIAL — Facebook will provide free advertisements to the World Health Organization in an effort to prevent the spread of the misinformation about the coronavirus. Facebook is one of multiple tech companies extending free services in response to the virus. Also, company will remove false claims and conspiracy theories

Facebook said would let the World Health Organization (WHO) advertise for free on the social media platform to help fight the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus. Facebook said when you search for “coronavirus” on the platform, a pop-up will appear directing you to the WHO or a local health authority for the latest information. If you’re in a country where the WHO has reported person-to-person transmission of the virus, you’ll see that alert in Facebook’s news feed, CBS News reported.

I wanted to share an update on the steps we’re taking to respond to the coronavirus. This is now a global challenge and we’ve spent the past month working with health authorities to coordinate our response, wrote Mark Zuckerberg.

Given the developing situation, we’re working with national ministries of health and organizations like the WHO, CDC and UNICEF to help them get out timely, accurate information on the coronavirus. We’re giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support. We’ll also give support and millions more in ad credits to other organizations too and we’ll be working closely with global health experts to provide additional help if needed, according to Facebook’s founder.

Facebook is one of multiple tech companies extending free services in response to the virus. Google announced on Wednesday that it will give all G Suite customers free access to advanced Hangouts features through July 1st, while Microsoft is offering a free six-month trial for its premium tier of Microsoft Teams, as reported by The Verge.

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Mark Zuckerberg says that while it is important that everyone can share their experiences, the firm is removing false claims and conspiracy theories. It is also blocking ads that exploit the situation – “for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease”. That is likely to prove a mammoth task, particularly when it comes to information circulating inside Facebook Groups, BBC wrote.

Facebook has faced heavy criticism for the spread of misinformation on its platform, particularly during political campaigns. The social network was slammed last year after it said it will not fact check or remove content posted by politicians. It appears to be taking a different tact with the coronavirus. Researchers are using “aggregated and anonymized” Facebook data, such as population density maps, to understand the spread of the virus, Zuckerberg said. Facebook’s founder said that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization founded by himself and his wife Priscilla Chan, had teamed up with the Gates Foundation. Through the partnership, researchers in Cambodia were able to sequence the full genome of the virus “in days,” making it “much easier and faster for them to identify” if people had the new coronavirus, CNBC reported.

Last week, Facebook announced that its annual developer conference, F8, will be canceled due to coronavirus fears. Instead of the F8 event the company would organize “a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content. Read more here.

In an effort to eliminate misinformation about coronavirus The World Health Organization joined popular video platform TikTok on Friday. Read more.

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