MENLO PARK, Calif., March 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, today announced that Facebook, Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) plans to help people get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Today we’re launching a global campaign to help bring 50 million people a step closer to getting Covid-19 vaccines.
We’ve already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative Covid-19 information. Now that many countries are moving towards vaccinations for all adults, we’re working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated as well.
First, we’re launching a tool that shows you when and where you can get vaccinated and gives you a link to make an appointment. This will be in the Covid Information Center, which we’ll show people right in their News Feed. We’ve already seen people use Facebook to find vaccination appointments, so this should enable millions more people to do the same.
Second, we’re bringing the Covid Information Center to Instagram, and we’ll show it to people prominently there too.
Third, we’re working with health authorities and governments to expand their WhatsApp chatbots to help people register for vaccines. More than 3 billion messages related to Covid have already been sent by governments, non-profits and international organizations to citizens through official WhatsApp chatbots, so this update will help with the vaccination effort as well.
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. I’m looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.
We’ve already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative COVID-19 information, and today as access to COVID-19 vaccines expands, we’re going even further and aiming to help bring 50 million people one step closer to getting vaccinated.
To do this, we’re helping people learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and find out when and where they can get one through our apps. Some of the ways we are doing this:
- A tool to connect people to information about where and when to get a COVID-19 vaccine
- Expanding our COVID-19 Information Center to Instagram
- Expanding official WhatsApp chatbots on COVID-19 to get people registered for vaccinations with health authorities and governments
- Adding labels on posts about COVID-19 vaccines to show additional information from the World Health Organization
- Making real-time aggregate trends in COVID-19 vaccinations, intent to get vaccinated and reasons for hesitancy available to public officials to inform equitable vaccine rollout
By working closely with national and global health authorities and using our scale to reach people quickly, we’re doing our part to help people get credible information, get vaccinated and come back together safely.
Helping People Find Where and When They Can Get Vaccinated
We’ve partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to offer a tool on Facebook in the US to help people identify places nearby to get the vaccine. The locations in this tool are provided by VaccineFinder and include hours of operation, contact info and links to make an appointment. You can access this tool in the COVID-19 Information Center and it will be supported in 71 different languages. We plan to expand to other countries as vaccines are available more widely.
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with Facebook to build tools that aim to support consumers in their search for COVID-19 vaccines. Improving vaccine access and equity across the country will be a critical step in achieving herd immunity and bringing this pandemic to a close.”
– John Brownstein, CIO of Boston Children’s Hospital
Connecting People to Resources on Instagram
Today, we’re bringing the COVID-19 Information Center to Instagram all around the world. This portal, which we launched in the Facebook app last March, helps people discover the latest information about the virus from local health ministries and the World Health Organization. We’re also releasing new stickers on Instagram Stories, so people can inspire others to get vaccinated when it becomes available to them. Learn more about these efforts on the Instagram blog.
Partnering with Health Authorities and Governments on Vaccine Registration
To date, 3 billion messages have been sent by governments, nonprofits and international organizations to citizens through official WhatsApp chatbots on COVID-19. We’re now working directly with health authorities and governments to get people registered for vaccinations, including:
- Last week, the city and province of Buenos Aires, Argentina announced that WhatsApp will be the official channel to send notifications to citizens when it’s their turn to receive the vaccine.
- In Brazil, a WhatsApp helpline is being used as an information and support channel for residents in Serrana, where health authorities are testing the first mass vaccinations project in the country.
- In Indonesia, the Ministry of Health started Phase II of its WhatsApp vaccine registration helpline, expanding vaccine registration from frontline workers to senior citizens.
- Other governments and health authorities, including South Africa and the World Health Organization, are starting to incorporate up-to-date vaccine information into their helplines.
Amplifying Credible Health Information and Resources from Experts
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have partnered with ministries of health and health-focused organizations in more than 170 countries by providing free ads, enabling partners to share their own public health guidance on COVID-19 and information about the COVID-19 vaccine. For underserved countries and vulnerable populations such as ethnic minorities and refugees, we also partner with expert local and international NGOs, such as International Medical Corps, who are providing tailored COVID-19 information in local languages. In addition, we continue to work with international bodies like the European Union and African Union in support of their COVID-19 responses. For example, we have helped the European Parliament run a multilingual ad campaign in their 27 Member States, featuring short in-feed videos on Facebook and Instagram. Within a month, the campaign drove strong awareness and consideration, generating more than 100 million views and close to 2 million link clicks across all Member States.
We’re also supporting the United Nations’ “Only Together” campaign calling for fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world. In the coming days, we will be launching in-feed informational messages to promote content posted by health organizations who are participating in the UN’s campaign.
Promoting Reliable Information About COVID-19 Vaccines
In February, in consultation with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization, we expanded the list of false claims we will remove during the pandemic to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines. Since launching our new policy applying both to old and new content, we have removed an additional 2 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram. The majority of this additional content was previously subject to warning screens, and is now removed from the platform.
We’re continuing to expand our efforts to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation by adding labels to Facebook and Instagram posts that discuss the vaccines. These labels contain credible information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization. For example, we’re adding a label on posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines that notes COVID-19 vaccines go through tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved. This label is rolling out globally in English, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Arabic and French, and we are adding additional languages in the coming weeks.
In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out labels on all posts generally about COVID-19 vaccines that point people to the COVID-19 Information Center globally, and plan to add additional targeted labels about COVID-19 vaccine subtopics. We will also add an additional screen when someone goes to share a post on Facebook and Instagram with an informational COVID-19 vaccine label. It will provide more information so people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share.
Building on our goal to promote authoritative information about COVID-19 vaccines, we have implemented several temporary measures to further limit the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 and vaccine information during the pandemic. Some of these measures include:
- Reducing the distribution of:
- content from users that have violated our policies on COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation or that have repeatedly shared content debunked as False or Altered by our third-party fact-checking partners, and of
- any COVID-19 or vaccine content that fact-checking partners have rated as “Missing Context.”
- Requiring admins for groups with admins or members who have violated our COVID-19 policies to temporarily approve all posts within their group.
- Continuing to further elevate information from authoritative sources when people seek information about COVID-19 or vaccines.
Making it Easier For Public Officials to Understand Vaccine Behaviors and Trends Around the World
Today, we are bringing new data and insights on vaccine attitudes to Facebook Data for Good’s COVID-19 map and dashboard. These visualizations are designed to provide information to inform and monitor vaccine rollouts in over 200 countries and territories. The dashboard is updated in near real time with data collected by our partners at Carnegie Mellon University and University of Maryland as part of the COVID-19 Symptom Survey. For example, globally, the top two reasons why respondents say they do not intend to get vaccinated are fear of side effects and waiting to see if vaccines are safe. Facebook does not host the surveys nor collect survey participant responses, and only has access to public, aggregated survey data provided by the universities. This data can help inform messaging tactics and policy decisions at a regional level. More insights and trends for the US can be found here.
Launching CrowdTangle COVID Vaccine Live Displays
We’re also making it easy to track how COVID-19 vaccine information is being spread on social media through CrowdTangle’s COVID-19 Live Displays. Publishers, global aid organizations, journalists and others can access real-time, global streams of vaccine-related posts on Facebook, Instagram and Reddit in 34 languages. CrowdTangle also offers Live Displays for 104 countries and all 50 states in the US to help aid organizations and journalists track posts and trends at a regional level as well.
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