Facebook blocked some posts about coronavirus, due to a bug

The bug is fixed now!

Facebook undergoes a bug in its News Feed spam filter, which caused the platform to remove some posts with content about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information mistakenly. 

Users complained that the links to their new-stories related to Cornavirus are being removed on the ground of Facebook’s “community standards on spam” violation. Many users shared the screenshots of many blocked links on social media.

On it, Facebook spokesperson commented that “We’re looking into this right now and working as quickly as possible to share information. [I] can confirm at this point that we’re looking into the matter, can’t confirm what might be happening just yet.”

However, it was found out the posts were marked as spam and blocked by Facebook due to a technical bug. Moreover, not all the posts related to coronavirus content are affected by the bug.

Some of Coronavirus posts spammed by Facebook

Attorney Mike Godwin tweeted, “Facebook decided that my posting of this Times of Israel article is spam” and indicate that his coronavirus-related article is not a spam. 

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said that “We’re on this – this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back. More soon.”

Kathryn Watson, a CBS News reporter, also tweeted that Facebook blocked her Dallas Morning News article about two students who were tested positive for coronavirus as spam. However, the post was restored later.

Later on, Rosen states that the bug is fixed. He tweeted that “We’ve restored all the posts that incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics – not just those related to COVID-19. This was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too.” 

Facebook spokesperson, Alex Stamos, clears out that there might be a fault in Facebook’s anti-spam policies as the company is using automation to assist. He mentioned that Facebook had sent home its content moderators yesterday amid the pandemic coronavirus. He further added that the company might be seeing the start of the Machine Learning (ML) going nuts with less human oversights.

All those posts affected by the bug, not posted, saying, “Your post goes against our Community Standards on spam. Further explaining the statement, the blocked posts say that “No one else can see your post. We have these standards to prevent things like false advertising, fraud, and security breaches.”

Social media platforms joining hands to fight against COVID-19 misinformation

The social platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, along with other companies like Microsoft and Google, gave a joint statement on fighting against the misinformation related to COVID-19. 

READ: Amazon is hiring for 100,000 positions to support its services with an unprecedented increase in demand amid Coronavirus

The statement says, “We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world. We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

Back in January, Facebook announced that it would remove all the false claims and conspiracies regarding COVID-19. Earlier in March, Facebook also banned ads for selling medical face masks to avoid the exploitation of public health emergencies. 

Featured image: Drew Angerer/Getty

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