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Technology Facebook launches Coronavirus Information Center to provide real-time updates on COVID-19

15:40  19 march  2020
15:40  19 march  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Facebook is putting the latest news and information about the coronavirus, including real-time updates from national health authorities and global health organizations, at the top of everyone’s news feeds in the U.S. and Europe, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday.

The new feature, which will also offer resources and tips on how to stay healthy and support family and community, will roll out over the next 24 hours, Zuckerberg said during a call with the media.

Articles, videos and posts will focus on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with an emphasis on social distancing.

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The feature was built in collaboration with health organizations, Zuckerberg said.

"This is clearly a very difficult and stressful time for a lot of people and we want to make sure we are doing what we can to support the public health response," he said.

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The announcement is part of aggressive efforts Facebook and other tech companies are taking to stop the surge of coronavirus misinformation spreading around the globe on social media.

Removing misinformation, such as conspiracy theories, hoaxes and memes, during a pandemic is "one of the most black-and-white situations" Facebook has encountered when moderating content on the platform, Zuckerberg said.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 ( COVID - 19 ). COVID - 19 Situation Summary plus icon. To receive email updates about COVID - 19 , enter your email address indicate that you are leaving the CDC website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal

Cracking down on any coronavirus posts that pose an "imminent risk" of harm to Facebook users, particularly at a time when so many people are relying on social media to stay in touch with family and friends and get real-time updates on the pandemic, is imperative, he said.

“Even in the most free expression friendly traditions like the U.S., you long have the precedent that you don't allow people to yell fire in a crowded room and that, I think, is similar to people spreading dangerous misinformation in a time of an outbreak like this,” Zuckerberg said.

The new feature will roll out first in the U.S., Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK and will extend to more countries in the next few days, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook is consulting with health organizations and governments in each country to determine what information will be featured, he said.

In addition to seeing the Coronavirus Information Center at the top of your news feeds, you can follow the information center to get updates from health authorities directly in your news feed. In the U.S., Facebook users will find features to help them connect with local groups and ask for help from or offer help in their communities.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Facebook launches Coronavirus Information Center to provide real-time updates on COVID-19

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