Facebook has announced that it will soon start showing U.S. users information about where they can get COVID-19 vaccines.
Throughout the pandemic, Facebook has tried to help people weather the pandemic safely by launching COVID-19 information centers and flagging false claims about vaccines. The company says it will now start directing users to local health agency websites where they’ll be able to find authoritative information about their eligibility to get vaccinated.
“Starting this week in the U.S., we’ll feature links in the COVID-19 Information Center to local ministry of health websites to help people understand whether they’re eligible to get vaccinated and how to do so,” the company said in a blog post.
Helping people get vaccinated
Facebook added that, in the coming weeks, it will “continue to expand this feature to more countries and improve it to make it easier for people to see where and when they can get vaccinated in just a few taps.”
The social media giant is also giving health agencies worldwide $120 million in ad credits so they can run campaigns about COVID-19 vaccines.
Additionally, Facebook will be teaming up with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to ensure that “science and evidence-based” vaccine information reaches communities where vaccine access may be lower. This includes Native American communities, Black communities, and Latinx communities, Facebook said.
Banning false claims
Facebook’s previous efforts to provide accurate information about vaccines have focused on debunking myths and false information about COVID-19 vaccines. In December, the platform said it would remove claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been declared false by public health experts, such as posts falsely claiming that the vaccines contain microchips.
Since then, the company has broadened its criteria for ban-worthy vaccine posts. Facebook now prohibits posts falsely claiming that the virus is man-made or manufactured, as well as posts that claim face masks don’t prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's head of health, said last year that Facebook is focusing on getting people access to “credible information from trusted sources in the moments that they’re seeking it out.”
“Misinformation really thrives when there’s a void or an absence of accurate information or trusted information,” he said.