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Zuckerberg reveals true scale of battle against misinformation

Mark Zuckerberg says that Facebook has slapped 50 million warning labels on suspect content landing on the social networking site since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

The astonishing figure highlights the extent to which social media companies are battling misinformation on their sites during the pandemic.

The Facebook co-founder and CEO revealed the figure on Tuesday during an appearance on CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell in which he talked about the company’s work to tackle misinformation on the platform.

“There’s harmful misinformation, which is the type of thing that puts people in imminent physical risk,” Zuckerberg told O’Donnell. “So, if you’re telling someone that social distancing doesn’t work, or that something that’s proven to be a cure when it isn’t, we want to take that off our services completely.

“There’s other misinformation which is not generally going to cause physical harm, it’s just stuff that’s wrong. We want to stop it from going viral, and there we work with independent fact-checkers, which has led to us showing about 50 million warning labels on content that people have seen.”

The Facebook boss said his team believes the warning labels are effective “because 95% of the time, when someone sees a piece of content with a warning label, they don’t click through to it.”

A recent high-profile incident regarding misinformation on its site occurred earlier this month when Facebook removed the Plandemic viral conspiracy video for violating its policies. But the action only came after the clip had racked up 1.8 million views, including 17,000 comments, and nearly 150,000 shares.

In his TV chat, Zuckerberg also talked about Facebook Shops, a new tool that enables small-business owners to create an online storefront for free.

“Facebook Shops allows a small business to easily set up a shop inside our apps … and it will be a very fast experience for people to discover their products and be able to buy things directly,” he said.

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