Social media is arguably the best way for information dissemination. It is fast and very easy to use; no expertise is needed at all. But with these numerous benefits come the danger of spreading fake news and unconfirmed information.
The coronavirus which resulted in the ongoing pandemic has seen its fair share of fake news. Information like the 5G technology helps spread the virus, to the vaccine kills, etc., are some of the untrue information that has made rounds on social media.
The biggest and most controversial of information that has trended online is the theory that the coronavirus was manufactured. This has been a topic of debate on the internet and many social media platforms made sure to remove these claims alongside others that they tagged as false. In a report by Politico that sites a Facebook Spokesperson, the social media giant will no longer remove claims that the virus was doctored. According to the report, Facebook is changing its policy because of a renewed focus on the origins of the virus and an order from U.S. President Joe Biden to his intelligence agencies demanding that the lab-leak hypothesis be investigated.
According to what the spokesperson that spoke to Politico said, Facebook’s made the policy change “in consultation with public health experts”. Facebook’s policy had previously mandated that conspiracy theories and unconfirmed news and unbacked claims about the virus be removed.
Facebook, along with other social media platforms, are under constant pressure from government regulators to tackle misinformation. In 2014, during the Ebola crisis, there was an endless number of theories and fake news that caused unrest and this is one of the reasons why social media companies are demanded that misleading information on their platforms be dealt with.
According to Politico, YouTube and Twitter have not responded to the question of if they’d be implementing similar policy updates soon.