Tech giants back DOH campaign to fight vaccine misinformation

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The Department of Health (DOH) has launched the #ChecktheFAQs campaign to emphasize the importance of accurate information in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and encourage the public to fact-check information that they come across.

The campaign was launched together with various tech companies — Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter — jointly pledging their support to the initiative in line with their respective missions to help fight Covid-19 and vaccine misinformation online.

“As Covid-19 vaccination becomes top priority across the globe, we must also race to fight disinformation and misinformation surrounding Covid-19 vaccines and the pandemic. Spreading the right information can save lives. We, at the Department of Health, thank Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter for rallying together in our endeavor to spread the right information,” said Beverly Lorraine Ho, director of the disease prevention and control bureau and the health promotion bureau at the DOH.

“Whenever you see or hear new information, we encourage everyone to #ChecktheFAQs. With the campaign and by promoting this single message on social media platforms, we hope to urge every Filipino to always verify any information regarding the vaccines they may come across.”

Clare Amador, head of public policy at Facebook Philippines, said Facebook has connected over 2 billion people to resources from health authorities through its Covid-19 information center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram.

“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. 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,” Amador said.

For Google Philippines, the company said it is committed in taking down harmful and misleading content across its products.

“Globally, more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or false Covid-19 information have been removed and our information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them a valuable source of credible information,” said Bernadette Nacario, country director of Google Philippines.

Kristoffer Rada, TikTok Philippines head for public policy, said misinformation and disinformation that continue to spread about immunization can cost lives.

“At TikTok, we are committed to minimizing the spread of potentially misleading Covid-19 vaccine content. We take the responsibility of helping counter inauthentic, misleading or false information. To combat these, we’ve collaborated with fact-checking partners to determine whether the content shared on the platform is false. 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,” he said

Monrawee Ampolpittayanant, Twitter’s head of public policy, government and philanthropy of Southeast Asia, said the company recently implemented new policies to apply labels to the tweets that may contain misleading information surrounding Covid-19, in addition to previous efforts to remove it.

“We believe that giving access to factual information is integral in building public confidence on vaccines, as well as keeping the integrity of public conversations around health,” Ampolpittayanant said.

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