By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Facebook announced Monday new plans to aid with the problem-plagued COVID-19 vaccine rollout and help combat vaccine misinformation online.
“Today we’re launching a global campaign to help bring 50 million people a step closer to getting COVID-19 vaccines,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
The social media giant also said in a company blog post that it will be adding labels to posts discussing COVID-19 vaccines to show additional information from the World Health Organization. For example, the company said posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines will be hit with a label that notes the vaccines go through tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved.
Facebook previously announced a slew of efforts to remove posts with false claims about COVID-19 and vaccines.
Zuckerberg also said the company is launching a tool that shows users when and where they can get vaccinated, and even provides a link to make an appointment. This tool will show up in Facebook’s COVID Information Center, which appears on users’ news feeds.
“We’ve already seen people use Facebook to find vaccination appointments, so this should enable millions more people to do the same,” Zuckerberg said.
The company said it has partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to offer a tool on Facebook to help people in the U.S. find places nearby to get a vaccine. The company said the tool will be supported in 71 different languages and it has plans to expand to other countries as well soon.
Moreover, Zuckerberg said Monday that Facebook’s COVID Information Center will be brought to Instagram as well. Finally, Zuckerberg said Facebook is working with health authorities and governments to expand their WhatsApp chatbots to help people register for vaccines through the Facebook-owned messaging app.
The chief executive wrote that more than 3 billion messages related to COVID-19 have been sent by governments, nonprofits and international organizations through official WhatssApp chatbots.
“The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work. They’re our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I’m looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.”
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