Facebook removes one of the largest ‘anti-mask’ groups for spreading Covid-19 misinformation

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on July 21, 2020

Facebook has removed one of the largest groups on the platform advocating against wearing masks in public for spreading misinformation on Covid-19.

The anti-mast group Unmasking America! had over 9,600 members. The group shared several false claims related to wearing masks, The Verge reported. One of the posts on the group claimed that masks obstruct the flow of oxygen while another claimed that wearing masks can have a psychological impact.

These claims have often been debunked by medical experts.

“We have clear policies against promoting harmful misinformation about Covid-19 and have removed this group while we review the others,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge.

Anti-mask groups have seen a spike on the platform with many such groups making false claims to encourage people on not wearing masks.

The World Health Organisation, as well as national health agencies across the globe, have promoted the use of masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 which has infected over 14 lakh people worldwide.

Encouraging people to not wear a mask can prove to be harmful. Social media platforms, including Facebook, have been attempting to prevent Covid-19 misinformation on their platforms.

Facebook earlier this year had introduced a new feature. The platform now warns users who have previously engaged with “harmful misinformation” related to the Covid-19 pandemic on the social media platform.

The social media giant in April had said that Facebook and Instagram have directed over two billion people to authoritative health resources through Facebook’s Covid-19 Information Centre and educational pop-ups.

Published on July 21, 2020

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