If you get your news from Facebook, that’s problem number one. Why? Well, it would take an effort of pandemic-response-sized proportions to get people to stop sharing bullshit on Facebook. And you see how well our pandemic response is going…
I know that you’re smart and astute and certainly don’t spread junk science around Facebook for all your friends to enjoy. But I’m also sure you have friends or relatives who still think a government conspiracy or, I don’t know, 5G cellular technology caused COVID-19. And while it’s easy to shut them up with an eye-roll and a 30-day snooze, that only addresses the symptom, not the cause.
With the novel coronavirus outbreak occurring in China, the internet has been a great way to communicate awareness about the spread and how to minimise the risk of contracting it. But it's also revealed some of the darkest aspects of the web, including the spread of misinformation and outright false information. Here's how you can spot the difference.Read more
Facebook will soon be stepping in with some extra anti-stupid medicine of its own. If a user has shared or interacted with harmful coronavirus-related posts on the service—stressing the “harmful” part, as a post will need to be have the potential to create “immediate physical harm” in order to qualify—Facebook will publish a post in their news feeds to try to steer them toward more legitimate news sources.
What’s frustrating, though, is that Facebook isn’t highlighting which posts the user engaged with that triggered the notification, nor why the post was flagged as bogus in the first place. Instead, you’ll get a generic message that looks like this:
If you happen across this message in your own feed, know that you have to step up your game and be a bit more sceptical about what you read and share on social media. But I also get if you’re struggling to find good information; even the best fact-checkers are having difficulty addressing the sheer amount of corona crap being shoveled far and wide.
Were I you, and dealing with Facebook stupidity on a daily basis, I’d bookmark the site Facebook plans to push to these bullshit-peddlers and drop it in as a comment the next time you see something dangerously idiotic shared in your feed.
There’s no doubt that the post’s originator will react angrily to your pushing information coming from the “not to be trusted” World Health Organisation—god, what an agenda they must have—but you’ll at least be getting ahead of the generic notification they’ll likely be seeing soon enough. Who knows, you might even open them up to new viewpoints. It could happen.
Otherwise, do what I do—install Social Fixer in your browser and create a filter that hides all things coronavirus from your feed. Between that and my ”chronological feed” hack from a few weeks back, Facebook is much more quiet and pleasant for me these days. Quarantine life isn’t all bad.