Facebook has announced that it has rolled out a new notification screen for users across the world, which will give them more context about articles related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This move, Facebook states on its post, will give users more context about the pandemic and verified reporting around it, to dispel misinformation and myths about it. The intermediate screen that will appear ahead of the Covid-19 articles being shared on Facebook aims to give users an idea about the recency of the information that is being shared, to further prevent redundancy of information.
In a blog post on the matter, Facebook's VP of News Feed, John Hegeman, says, "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.
"Over the past several months, our internal research found that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share. News publishers in particular have expressed concerns about older stories being shared on social media as current news, which can misconstrue the state of current events."
Facebook further said that credible content posted by government health authorities, as well as recognised global health organisations such as the World Health Organisation, would be exempted from this notification screen. The move is in line with Facebook's attempts to make it easier to verify facts, and ensure users take up more responsibility before sharing articles on Facebook. As Hegeman says in the blog post, "In 2018, we added the context button, which provides information about the sources of articles in News Feed. Today, we’re starting to globally roll out a notification screen that will let people know when news articles they are about to share are more than 90 days old."
Hegeman further stated that it will also be looking to expand the use cases of the Facebook notification screen. A part of that will involve providing information regarding the sources of links being posted online, and also explore a way to redirect people to Facebook's Covid-19 information centre to give them access to comprehensive, factual reporting on the topic by leading publications around the world.