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Facebook, Google, TikTok, Twitter join PH health department in fight vs vaccine misinformation

As inoculation rolls out in many local government units in the Philippines, the spread of vaccine misinformation is also increasing. In partnership with social media platforms Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter, the Department of Health (DOH) launched the #ChecktheFAQs campaign to emphasize the importance of accurate information in the fight against the COVID-19.

The need for fact-checking at this time of global health crisis — and with the Philippines not showing signs of reducing the number of cases — is of utmost importance. The campaign comes at the right time when politicians and celebrities are spreading unverified reports on medicines such as Ivermectin, which is used to prevent parasites in animals, as a potential “treatment” for COVID-19.

“As COVID-19 vaccination becomes a top priority across the globe, we must also race to fight disinformation and misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and the pandemic,” said Beverly Lorraine Ho, director of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau and the Health Promotion Bureau, DOH. “Spreading the right information can save lives. Whenever you see or hear new information, we encourage everyone to Whenever you see or hear new information, we encourage everyone to #ChecktheFAQs. We urge every Filipino to always verify any information regarding the vaccines they may come across.”

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DOH developed the “Check the FAQs” page on its website for Filipinos to have a source of trustworthy information about COVID-19 and its vaccines. Playing an important role in championing media literacy on vaccines, Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter have committed to support the campaign which includes helping build awareness for the initiative.

Vaccine misinformation

“As part of our ongoing role in the Philippines’ fight against the pandemic, we’re committed to protecting our platforms from misinformation — and connecting more people to the information they can trust,” said Bernadette Nacario, country director, Philippines, Google. “That includes taking down harmful and misleading content across our products, raising authoritative information on Search and YouTube, providing ad grants, and supporting quality news reporting on vaccines.”

Nacario noted that globally, more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or false COVID-19 information have been removed.

“We are also taking action against accounts that break our COVID-19 and vaccine rules including reducing their distribution or removing them from our platform,” said Clare Amador, head of Public Policy, Facebook Philippines. “While misinformation is complex and always evolving, we continue using research, teams, and technologies to tackle it in the most comprehensive and effective way possible.”

“To combat (misinformation, we’ve collaborated with fact-checking partners to determine whether the content shared on the platform is false,” said Kristoffer Rada, head for Public Policy, TikTok Philippines. “We remove misinformation that is violative of our Community Guidelines and could cause harm to public’s health, and we will continue our mission in keeping the safety of the community our number one priority.”

“In December, we shared updates on our work to protect the public conversation surrounding COVID-19,” said Monrawee Ampolpittayanant, head of Public Policy, Government and Philanthropy of Southeast Asia, Twitter. “We also recently implemented new policies to apply labels to the Tweets that may contain misleading information surrounding COVID-19, in addition to our continued efforts to remove it.”