Facebook Seeks to Offer More Context on Coronavirus Posts, Will Warn Users When Sharing Old Articles

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Facebook said Thursday it was looking to add notifications about the source of coronavirus-related posts and will warn users when they share stories that are more than 90 days old.

The moves aim to add more context to stories shared on the leading social network and seek to stem the flow of misinformation.

Facebook Vice President John Hegeman said in a blog post the social media giant would be seeking to direct people to “authoritative” information about the COVID-19 outbreak through its hub on the pandemic.

For posts with links mentioning COVID-19, Facebook is considering a “notification screen that provides information about the source of the link and directs people to the COVID-19 Information Center for authoritative health information,” he said.

“Through providing more context, our goal is to make it easier for people to identify content that’s timely, reliable and most valuable to them.”

Hegeman also said a notification would be added to warn users trying to share old stories which may have lost relevance.

“To ensure people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share on Facebook, the notification screen will appear when people click the share button on articles older than 90 days, but will allow people to continue sharing if they decide an article is still relevant,” he said.

Hegeman said Facebook’s research has found “that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share” and that some news organizations have complained that sharing of older stories purported to be current news “can misconstrue the state of current events.”

The move is one of a series of actions taken by Facebook and other platforms, which have been under pressure to stem the flow of false information and influence campaigns.

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