Facebook taking pro-active measures: Making amends while lending a helping hand in times of crisis

  • Facebook has been taking prompt actions in response to the global crisis of coronavirus pandemic.
  • The company is trying hard to regain public trust, and the measures it is taking are the need of the hour.

With the world crumbling apart, the economy crashing down, millions of people getting sick daily and many succumbing to the disease - hypothetically speaking, the world seems to be going through a major apocalypse! Coronavirus pandemic has hit the planet hard, and every individual is facing the brunt of the extremely distressing situation.

In current times, the powerful role of social media platforms cannot be negated. People are in a lockdown situation. When the coronavirus outbreaks began in January, people started posting all sorts of mythical and falsified information about the disease and social networks like Facebook did not pay much attention to all that initially. This led them to gain mass dis-trust and severe criticism from everywhere.

But this was not the first time. Facebook has been going through a challenging period since the 2016 U.S. election. The company came under massive criticism in not controlling misinformation and propaganda ahead of the election. This resulted in the company to come under blasting radars and get branded for its other numerous scandals.

Facebook failed to learn its lesson and then in March 2018, the company’s reputation got severely affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political firm managed to get access to the data of millions of Facebook users and used it illegally to target ads for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook had to face a whopping $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission.

After these serious failures to protect public data and for its lenient policies, the company faced another blow in 2019 when four separate antitrust investigations launched against it.

However, after going through all this, Facebook seems to have learned its lesson the hard way. To rebuild public trust and as a goodwill gesture, Facebook has taken swift and highly effective actions since February 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with other tech firms, Facebook made serious efforts to do content policing, fact-checking of ads, blocking the “overnight sellers” from taking advantage of people’s fears!

Facebook has been showing keen interest in trying to help governments, small businesses, emergency response organizations and its employees in this time of mass distress and chaos.

Recently, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said that they want to make sure that they do whatever it takes to help support the public health response. He also praised and personally thanked the people who are doing everything to help the world in this crisis.

Facebook lent its Menlo Park headquarters to World Health Organization, leaders from Amazon, Google, Salesforce and other tech firms to come together and discuss the measures these companies can take to provide solutions for the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the steps that Facebook has taken in this regard are making sure that everyone has accurate information, and this feat has been carried out through the launch of Coronavirus Information Center on Facebook, directing and connecting people towards accurate information sources, supporting health authorities in the provision of credible information, prompting Instagram to connect people with helpful information, fact-checking and monitoring the content being shared, getting expert health tips from Dr. Fauci, supporting the collaboration of WHO with WhatsApp, banning ads for face masks, hand sanitizers and other stuff that can potentially lead already distressed people to get scammed.

Apart from these efforts, Facebook is supporting global health organizations by allocating $20 million in donations to support COVID-19 relief efforts, and through free ads and a lot more.

It’s not only trying to help the general masses, but it’s also empowering its partners with data and tools. The company has given a $1,000 bonus to 45000 full-time employees to help them with their finances during their work-from-home setup.

Each employee will be able to receive more than their full bonus for the six months because the company has decided to give every employee exceeds expectations performance ratings for half of the year 2020.

The company is also lending support to communities and offering free workplace for companies in need. Facebook has announced a $100 million program to help small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Despite doing so much for the people, Facebook itself has seen a downhill road due to this global crisis. Its shares are also going down this year. However, Facebook coming forward with responsible actions for the world has somewhat earned it forgiveness for its past missteps and maybe now it's on the way to mend its reputation in the eyes of the world.

Read next: Coronavirus Pandemic – Implications on the World Economy
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