“The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Monday. “They’re our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life. I’m looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.”
Zuckerberg said the goal is to help bring 50 million people “one step closer to getting vaccinated,” which the company hopes to accomplish by expanding their COVID-19 Information Center to Instagram around the world and expanding official WhatsApp chatbots to assist people in getting registered for vaccines.
Additionally, Facebook will be rolling out labels “on all posts generally about COVID-19 vaccines” in the coming weeks. These labels will direct users to the COVID-19 Information Center, with future plans for targeted labels about vaccine-related subtopics. A new screen featuring an informational vaccine label will also be put into place that will appear whenever someone shares a post on Facebook and/or Instagram.
Facebook also said it has been (and will temporarily continue) to reduce the distribution of content from those who have violated policies on vaccine and pandemic misinformation, as well as any related content that the site’s fact-checking partners have determined is “missing context.”
Also, Zuckerberg announced on Monday a partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital that will see the rollout of a tool on Facebook in the U.S. to help users find places near them to get vaccinated.
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with Facebook to build tools that aim to support consumers in their search for COVID-19 vaccines,” John Brownstein, CIO of Boston Children’s Hospital, said Monday. Improving vaccine access and equity across the country will be a critical step in achieving herd immunity and bringing this pandemic to a close.”
These announcements come one day after the Washington Post’s report on Facebook’s behind-the-scenes study on vaccine doubt, with early findings showing that a small group may be playing a major part in fanning the flames around dangerous content. Unsurprisingly, a QAnon connection was also reportedly shown in the study.