Facebook offers WHO free ad space to combat coronavirus

(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook has decided to provide the World Health Organization (WHO) with free ad space on its social media platform in an effort to help its users stay better informed about the recent coronavirus outbreak.

In a recent post on the platform, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will be providing the WHO with “as many free ads as they need” to get relevant information about the outbreak out to Facebook users.

Facebook is also providing millions of dollars worth of “ad credits” to other organizations while working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF and national ministries of health to help them get out timely and accurate information about the coronavirus.

Now when users search for the coronavirus on Facebook, they'll see a pop-up that directs them to either the WHO or their local health authority for the latest information. Users that live in a country where the WHO has reported person-to-person transmission will also now see this information in their News Feed.

Fighting misinformation

Just as Google is hiding coronavirus apps on the Play Store to help fight misinformation about the outbreak, Facebook is also doing its part to ensure that its users don't see hoaxes or other misinformation in their News Feeds and Zuckerberg explained why in his post, saying:

“We're also focused on stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation. It's important that everyone has a place to share their experiences and talk about the outbreak, but as our community standards make clear, it's not okay to share something that puts people in danger. So we're removing false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations. We're also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation -- for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease.”

In addition to mobilizing its social media platform to help with the coronavirus, scientific tools developed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are being deployed as well. Through a partnership between the initiative and the Gates Foundation, researchers in Cambodia were able to sequence the full genome of the coronavirus in days which has made it much easier and faster for them to identify who has the virus.

Other tech companies have also extended their free services in response to the coronavirus and Cisco, LogMeIn, Google and Microsoft have all made their online collaboration tools readily available so that people working from home to prevent the spread of the virus can stay productive.

Via The Verge

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.