Report: Facebook Is Piloting A Virality Kill Switch To Stop The Spread Of Misleading Information Across Its Platform

Facebook has been making efforts to tackle the spread of misleading information across its platform during the pandemic. From April to June of this year, the social media platform applied warning labels to nearly 98 million posts spreading misleading information about the coronavirus. The company also removed 7 million posts that could lead to imminent harm. Facebook also rolled out a COVID-19 information center, and now the company is reportedly piloting a virality circuit breaker to combat the spread of misleading information.

The Interface reported last week that the social media giant is piloting a new way to check viral posts on its platform for misleading information before these viral posts spread too far. The new method is kind of a ‘virality circuit breaker,’ and it slows down the spread of a post before content moderators have a chance to review the content for misleading information.

Recently, the Center for American Progress (CAP) published a new report, ‘Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation and Disinformation.’ In this report, the CAP recommends virality circuit breakers that automatically stop algorithms from amplifying content when views, likes, and shares are skyrocketing. This could give moderators time to review content for misleading information. According to the report published by The Interface, the social media giant is currently piloting an approach similar to a virality circuit breaker. Facebook also said that the company plans to roll it out soon, reported The Interface.

Although the social media giant does share information about viral news articles with Facebook’s fact-checking partners, the Center for American Progress recommends Facebook’s team to take a look at specifically viral posts.

It is important to note that more than 2 billion users have seen the COVID-19 information center while 660 million people opened it. Moreover, in April of this year, Facebook applied warning labels to nearly fifty million posts that were rated as misinformation by third-party fact-checkers. Although the company has tried to combat misleading information related to the coronavirus with its ‘Facts about the coronavirus’ info center, curbing Facebook’s algorithm might be an effective approach.

Recently, a non-profit group Avaaz published a report, ‘Facebook’s Algorithm: A Major Threat To Public Health,’ and researchers attempted to determine the scope of misleading information related to public health on Facebook’s platform. Avaaz researchers used public data from Facebook’s CrowdTangle and found that health-related misleading information generated 3.8 billion on Facebook during 2019.

Photo: JasonDoiy via Getty Images

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