FB failed to control Covid related misinformation, study reveals

FB failed to control Covid related misinformation, study reveals

Washington (Uttam Hindu News): The Covid-19 vaccine misinformation policy of Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, is not effective in dealing with misinformation. A new study has shown that its overall design is more responsible for this rather than just the algorithm.

The study, led by researchers at George Washington University in the US and published in the journal Science Advances, found that Facebook’s efforts were undermined by core design features of the platform.

“To effectively combat misinformation and other online harms, we need to move beyond content and algorithms to focus on design and architecture as well,” said David Broniatowski, lead study author and associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering. “

The results show that removing content or changing algorithms may be ineffective if it does not change what the platform is designed to do.

Researchers found that while Facebook made significant efforts to remove much anti-vaccine content during the COVID-19 pandemic, overall engagement with anti-vaccine content did not decline from prior trends and in some cases even increased. .

“This finding… is incredibly worrying,” said study author and professor of public health Lorien Abrams. “This reflects the difficulty we face as a society in removing health misinformation from public spaces.”

Among the content that was not removed was off-platform, links to low-credibility sites and an increase in links to misinformation on “alternative” social media platforms like Gab and Rumble, particularly from anti-vaccine groups.

Furthermore, the remaining anti-vaccine content on Facebook became less and less misinformative, including sensationalized false claims about vaccine side effects that were often too new to be fact-checked in real time. Additionally, anti-vaccine content producers used the platform more effectively than pro-vaccine content producers.

Although both had larger page networks, anti-vaccine content producers more effectively coordinated content distribution across pages, groups, and users’ news feeds. Even when Facebook changed its algorithms and removed content and accounts to combat vaccine misinformation, researchers say the platform’s architecture held back.

The study suggests that social media platform designers can promote public health and safety by working collaboratively to develop a set of “building codes” for their platforms that scientists use to reduce online harm. Informed by evidence.

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