By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) – Facebook announced new plans on Monday to help with problematic COVID-19 vaccine rollout and tackle vaccine misinformation online.
“Today we’re launching a global campaign to bring 50 million people one step closer to receiving COVID-19 vaccines,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
The social media giant also said on a company blog post that it would add labels to posts discussing COVID-19 vaccines to display additional information from the World Health Organization. For example, the company said that posts discussing the safety of COVID-19 vaccines will be tagged with a label stating that vaccines will undergo testing for safety and effectiveness prior to being approved.
Facebook previously announced a series 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 to get vaccinated, and even provides a link to schedule an appointment. This tool is displayed in Facebook’s COVID Information Center, which is displayed in users’ news feeds.
“We’ve already seen people use Facebook to find vaccination appointments. This should enable millions of people to do the same,” Zuckerberg said.
The company has partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to provide a tool on Facebook that will help people in the US find nearby places to get a vaccine. The company announced that the tool is supported in 71 different languages and plans to roll it out to other countries soon.
In addition, Zuckerberg said on Monday that Facebook’s COVID Information Center will also be brought to Instagram. Lastly, Zuckerberg said Facebook is working with health officials and governments to expand their WhatsApp chatbots to allow people to register for vaccines through Facebook’s own messaging app.
The chief executive wrote that more than 3 billion messages related to COVID-19 were sent by governments, nonprofits and international organizations via official WhatssApp chatbots.
“The data shows that the vaccines are safe and work. You are our best hope to overcome this virus and get back to normal life, ”wrote Zuckerberg. “I look forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.”
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