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Social media platforms remove fewer than 1 in 10 fake news on COVID-19

Social media platforms remove fewer than 1 in 10 posts, reported for containing misinformation on the coronavirus outbreak.

Content posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter claiming that wearing a facemask causes cancer, the virus was caused by vaccines and 5G technology and can be cured by taking colloidal silver, has been allowed circulate on the platforms after being notified, research from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has found.

The Centre reported 649 individual posts to the companies for breaching their standards, of which only 9.4% were looked at and 6.3% were removed.

More than 90% of content remained on the platforms, despite all three companies claiming various measures to prevent the spread of false information linked to Covid-19.

Facebook announced they have removed "hundreds of thousands” of coronavirus-related misinformation that could cause physical harm to people that read them. While Instagram said it would start to ‘downrank’ virus content that has been declared false by third-party fact checkers and to remove false claims flagged by global health organisations.

Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the CCDH, said: "Social media giants have claimed many times that they are taking Covid-related misinformation seriously, but this new research shows that even when they are handed the posts promoting misinformation, they fail to take action.

"If social media giants continue to publish misinformation on their websites, then politicians need to hold them to account by imposing financial sanctions for the costs to the NHS, fire service, police and all of society that misinformation causes, and legislate for deeper, faster regulation."


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