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Facebook contacting users to correct misinformation about COVID-19

A sign displays gratitude for doctors, nurses and other front-line workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 12. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
A sign displays gratitude for doctors, nurses and other front-line workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 12. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 16 (UPI) -- Facebook said Thursday it's notifying users who have engaged with misinformation about the coronavirus and guide them to factual data.

Guy Rosen, the social media giant's vice president of integrity, said Facebook is contacting users through their news feed about posts spreading myths about the coronavirus disease that have been proven false by the World Health Organization.

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"We're going to start showing messages in the news feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed," Rosen said in a statement. "These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by WHO, including ones we've removed from our platform for leading to imminent physical harm."

Rosen said Facebook has added eight new partners to expand its coverage since last month and started a $1 million grant program with the International Fact-Checking Network to aid efforts worldwide.

"Connecting people to credible information is only half the challenge," Rosen added. "Stopping the spread of misinformation and harmful content about COVID-19 on our apps is also critically important. That's why we work with over 60 fact-checking organizations that review and rate content in more than 50 languages around the world."

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The coronavirus pandemic has given way to a rising amount of misinformation and conspiracy theories online. Officials say scammers have used some of the misinformation for moneymaking schemes, such as selling phony testing kits.

U.S. copes with COVID-19 pandemic

Bass Pro Shops marketing manager David Smith (R) carries a box of donated face masks into Mercy Health in Chesterfield, Mo., on May 13. The company is donating 1 million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

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