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April 8, 2021

#ChecktheFAQs: Facebook, Google, Tiktok And Twitter Back DOH Campaign Against Vaccine Misinformation

#ChecktheFAQs: Facebook, Google, Tiktok And Twitter Back DOH Campaign Against Vaccine Misinformation A medical worker prepares a vaccine to be administered to a resident of Noveleta in Cavite during a mass inoculation held inside a mall on April 7, 2021. Photo by Jesse Bustos, The Philippine STAR

Leading technology companies Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter have partnered with the Department of Health (DOH) in a new campaign to address misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Called #ChecktheFAQs, the campaign aims to encourage the public to fact-check vaccine information that they come across on different online platforms.

Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter all committed to support and build awareness about the initiative, which includes a new page on the DOH website (https://doh.gov.ph/faqs/vaccines) where Filipinos can access accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines.

The page provides answers to the frequently asked questions about the vaccines, such as their availability and possible side effects.

It also directs users to additional resources, such as details about the different COVID-19 vaccines and how they are different from each other.

“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,” Beverly Lorraine Ho, director of the DOH’s Disease Prevention and Control Bureau and the Health Promotion Bureau, said in a statement.

“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,” she added.

Clare Amador, head of public policy at Facebook Philippines, reiterated their commitment to work closely with global and national health authorities such as the DOH to make it easy for people to find authoritative COVID-19 and vaccine information across their apps.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve connected over (two) billion people to resources from health authorities through our COVID-19 information center and pop-ups on Facebook and Instagram,” she said.

“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,” she added.

Google Philippines country director Bernadette Nacario noted their efforts to address misinformation include taking down harmful and misleading content, raising authoritative information, providing ad grants and supporting quality news reporting on vaccines.

“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,” she disclosed.

“It is an honor to partner with the Department of Health to support the #ChecktheFAQs campaign and help ensure that Filipinos have timely and accurate information which is important to keep people safe and build public trust in vaccines,” Nacario said.

Kristoffer Rada, head for public policy at TikTok Philippines, stated they have collaborated with fact-checking partners to determine whether the content shared on the popular platform is false.

"We believe in potential harm when people don't get the right information. 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,” he stressed.

“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… If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it is that accurate information can help save lives,” Rada said.

Monrawee Ampolpittayanant, Twitter’s head of public policy, government and philanthropy of Southeast Asia, also highlighted their new policies regarding misinformation surrounding COVID-19, including applying labels to tweets that may contain misleading information.

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. As the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines expands, people continue to turn to Twitter to discuss what’s happening and find the latest authoritative public health information,” she said.

“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,” she added.

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