Facebook seeks to offer more ‘context’ in virus posts

San Francisco (AFP) – Facebook said Thursday that it was looking to add notifications about the source of posts related to the coronavirus and will warn users when they share stories that are older than 90 days.

The movements aim to add more context to the stories shared on the leading social network and seek to stop the flow of misinformation.

Facebook Vice President John Hegeman said in a blog post that the social media giant would seek to direct people to “authoritative” information about the COVID-19 outbreak through its center on the pandemic.

For posts with links that mention COVID-19, Facebook is considering a “notification screen that provides information about the source of the link and directs people to the COVID-19 Information Center to obtain authorized health information,” he said.

“By providing more context, our goal is to make it easier for people to identify content that is timely, reliable, and most valuable to them.”

Hegeman also said a notification would be added to warn users trying to share old stories that they may have lost relevance.

“To ensure that people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share on Facebook, the notification screen will appear when people click the share button on articles older than 90 days, but will allow them to continue sharing if they decide an article, it’s still relevant, “he said.

Hegeman said Facebook research found that “the timeliness of an article is an important context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share” and that some news organizations have complained that sharing old stories that they are supposed to be current news “may misinterpret the state of current events”.

The move is one of a series of actions taken by Facebook and other platforms, which have come under pressure to stop the flow of false information and influence campaigns.