Great news for your crazy uncle: Facebook and Instagram will no longer remove posts with COVID misinformation in countries that no longer have a COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, which is basically most of the world.
It was not a surprise when Elon Musk eliminated Twitter’s COVID misinformation policy, considering Musk himself has always been such a fan of total bullshit declarations on the topic. But it is more of a surprise, as the Chronicle reports, that Meta just declared Facebook and Instagram will no longer enforce their COVID misinformation policies, in an announcement they made Friday morning.
And that is the sound of Champagne bottles popping in the executive suites at the ivermectin factory.
“Our Covid-19 misinformation rules will no longer be in effect globally as the global public health emergency declaration that triggered those rules has been lifted,” Meta says in a Friday blog post. Though they oddly hedge their words in a way that makes it sounds like they’re still serious about combating misinformation.
“We will take a more tailored approach to our Covid-19 misinformation rules consistent with the [Facebook Oversight] Board’s guidance and our existing policies,” the post adds. “In countries that have a Covid-19 public health emergency declaration, we will continue to remove content for violating our Covid-19 misinformation policies.”
But there are not many countries that still have a COVID-19 public health emergency declaration in effect. The United States ended its emergency declaration on May 11, and the World Health Organization ended theirs on May 5.
Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook/Meta platforms had made some legitimate efforts against COVID and vaccine misinformation, claiming they’d removed “25 million pieces of content” from their platforms for spreading COVID-19 falsehoods, and Zuck doing the occasional Facebook Live video with Dr. Fauci during some of the most brutal moments of the pandemic. So it may seem surprising that Meta will stop enforcing their COVID misinformation policy. But maybe it shouldn’t be, since misinformation is quite profitable for Facebook and the other Meta platforms.
Image: MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 28: A worker picks up trash in front of a new logo and the name 'Meta' on the sign in front of Facebook headquarters on October 28, 2021 in Menlo Park, California. A new name and logo were unveiled at Facebook headquarters after a much anticipated name change for the social media platform. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)