Facebook health disinformation 'superspreaders' got ~3.8 billion views in past year, spiked during coronavirus: report

Health-related disinformation content on Facebook received an estimated 3.8 billion views over the past year, and has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, says advocacy group Avaaz in a new report released Wednesday.

Read the Avaaz Report:
"Facebook's Algorithm: A Major Threat to Public Health"

From Reuters:

The report found that content from 10 "superspreader" sites sharing health misinformation had almost four times as many Facebook views in April 2020 as equivalent content from the sites of 10 leading health institutions, such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The social media giant, which has been under pressure to curb misinformation on its platform, has made amplifying credible health information a key element of its response. It also started removing misinformation about the novel coronavirus outbreak that it said could cause imminent harm.

"Facebook's algorithm is a major threat to public health. Mark Zuckerberg promised to provide reliable information during the pandemic, but his algorithm is sabotaging those efforts by driving many of Facebook's 2.7 billion users to health misinformation-spreading networks," said Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz.

"We share Avaaz's goal of limiting misinformation, but their findings don't reflect the steps we've taken to keep it from spreading on our services," is Facebook's response to the report today.

Read more:
On Facebook, health-misinformation 'superspreaders' rack up billions of views: report
[Reuters/Elizabeth Culliford]