Facebook combats coronavirus ‘misinformation’ by citing pro-China World Health Organization
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MENLO PARK, California, April 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Facebook is directing users who share what it deems “harmful misinformation” about COVID-19 to information published by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, critics point out that the WHO has published “harmful misinformation” itself.
Facebook’s new policy was announced Thursday, two days after President Donald Trump suspended American funding for the international foundation. The president took this action as evidence mounted that the World Health Organization had put the interests of the Communist Party of China over the health of the world.
“American taxpayers provide between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO. In contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million,” Trump stated on April 14.
“As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.”
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, published a blogpost to explain the WHO-friendly policy.
“Ever since COVID-19 was declared a global public health emergency in January, we’ve been working to connect people to accurate (sic) information from health experts and keep harmful misinformation about COVID-19 from spreading on our apps,” he wrote.
“We’ve now directed over 2 billion people to resources from the WHO and other health authorities through our COVID-19 Information Center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram with over 350 million people clicking through to learn more,” he continued.
“We’re going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed. These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO, including ones we’ve removed from our platform for leading to imminent physical harm. We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook. People will start seeing these messages in the coming weeks.”
But critics of the WHO’s performance during the COVID-19 crisis have observed that the WHO is not a good source of information about the coronavirus.
On April 1, Ross Marchand of the American Taxpayers Alliance described in American Conservative the WHO’s inability to stop what was originally a Chinese epidemic from becoming a worldwide catastrophe.
“From day one, the WHO sat idly by as the Chinese government covered up COVID-19 and facilitated the spread of the disease across the globe. Despite Beijing’s assertions to the contrary, COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, in November 2019. It spread unabated from there,” Marchand wrote.
When China’s cover-up was exposed, the WHO still refused to hold the totalitarian regime to account.
“Instead, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed President Xi’s ‘political commitment’ and ‘political leadership’ in containing the coronavirus,” said Marchand.
“When Dr. Tedros claimed that “China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response,” he wasn’t kidding. It’s hardly typical for a country to thoroughly cover up such a deadly disease for such a long time and then refuse to allow in a WHO advance team (for two weeks) once the disease becomes apparent,” he continued.
“For all of this kowtowing to China, the WHO hasn’t even managed to extract dependable disease spread information from local authorities. On March 24, the online publication ‘Our World in Data’ (based at the University of Oxford) reported that WHO data is simply too unreliable to use for statistical reports on the coronavirus. The researchers noted, ‘In published WHO Situation Reports were several inconsistencies in the number of total confirmed cases, and new confirmed cases that we noticed between the WHO Situation Reports and the WHO Dashboard, which also presents these statistics.’ Even worse, ‘these errors are not communicated by the WHO itself’ and require the attention of astute public health researchers to tease out.”
Meanwhile, Facebook’s own fact-checkers are suspect. In March, Facebook removed links to an article by Steve Mosher suggesting that the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s National Biosafety Laboratory, rather than an insanitary Wuhan market, may be responsible for the outbreak of the coronavirus. One of the “fact-checkers” Facebook cited in defense of this decision was Danielle E. Anderson, a virologist at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore who had worked at the Wuhan laboratory at various times in the past two years.
In addition, Facebook has permitted a number of fake news stories about COVID-19 to circulate on its platform when they promoted an anti-Trump agenda. Breitbart News reported that Facebook allowed the dissemination of a Huffington Post story that erroneously claimed that the U.S. president would profit from the sales of hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment for the coronavirus Trump praised last month. Facebook also permitted an erroneous report from ABC News that the president knew about the Wuhan virus as early as November.