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Facebook Publishes A List Of Things You Aren’t Allowed To Talk About On The Site Anymore

Under our Coordinating Harm policy , we prohibit content that:

Coordinates, depicts, admits to, or promotes the active and deliberate spread of communicable diseases by you or your associates.

When we have additional information and/or context to identify it, we also prohibit:

Content coordinating in-person events or gatherings when participation involves or encourages people who have COVID-19 to join.

Content coordinating interference with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Content calling to action, advocating, or promoting that others not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Under our Regulated Goods policy, we’ve taken steps to protect against exploitation of this crisis for financial gain and prohibit the below content when we have additional information and/or context to identify it:

Under our Coordinating Harm policy , we prohibit content that:

 

  • Coordinates, depicts, admits to, or promotes the active and deliberate spread of communicable diseases by you or your associates.

When we have additional information and/or context to identify it, we also prohibit:

 

  • Content coordinating in-person events or gatherings when participation involves or encourages people who have COVID-19 to join.
  • Content coordinating interference with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Content calling to action, advocating, or promoting that others not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Under our Regulated Goods policy, we’ve taken steps to protect against exploitation of this crisis for financial gain and prohibit the below content when we have additional information and/or context to identify it:

 

  • Attempts to sell medical and respiratory face masks, and COVID-19 test kits. This policy does not extend to offers or requests for mask donations or non-medical masks.
  • Makes mention of medical products and COVID-19 and indicates a sense of urgency or claims that prevention is guaranteed.

Under our Hate Speech policy, we prohibit the below content when we have additional information and/or context to identify it:

 

  • States that people who share a protected characteristic such as race or religion have the virus, created the virus or are spreading the virus. This does not apply to claims about people based on national origin because we want to allow discussion focused on national-level responses and effects (e.g., “X number of Italians have COVID-19”).
  • Mocks people who share a protected characteristic such as race or religion for having COVID-19.

Under our Bullying and Harassment policy, we prohibit the below content that targets people maliciously when we have additional information and/or context to identify it:

 

  • Claims that a private individual has COVID-19, unless that person has self-declared or information about their health status is publicly available.

Under our Community Standards, we remove misinformation when public health authorities conclude that the information is false and likely to contribute to imminent violence or physical harm. Since COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in January 2020, we have applied this policy to content containing claims related to COVID-19 that, according to public health authorities, are (a) false, and (b) likely to contribute to imminent physical harm (of imminent physical harm examples include: increasing the likelihood of exposure to or transmission of the virus, or having adverse effects on the public health system’s ability to cope with the pandemic). The goal of this policy is to reduce health harm to people, while also allowing people to discuss, debate and share their personal experiences, opinions and news related to the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, we remove false information about:

 

  • The existence or severity of COVID-19. Acknowledging the existence and understanding the severity of COVID-19 is foundational to keeping people safe and aware of the dangers of this public health emergency. We remove claims that deny the existence of the disease or undermine the severity of COVID-19. This includes:

    • Claims that deny the existence of the COVID-19 disease or pandemic
    • Claims that downplay the severity of COVID-19, such as:

      • Claims that COVID-19 is no more dangerous to people than the common flu or cold
      • Claims that no one has died from COVID-19
      • Claims that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is the same or lower than seasonal influenza
      • Claims that getting a flu shot or flu vaccine is more likely to kill you than COVID-19
      • Claims that the number of COVID-19 caused deaths are much lower than the official figure (requires additional information and/or context)
    • Claims about the cause of COVID-19 that are linked to 5G communication technologies, such as:

      • Claims that COVID-19 social distancing orders are really just a way to install 5G wireless communication technology infrastructure
      • Claims that the symptoms of COVID-19 are actually the effect of 5G communication technologies
    • Ex: “No one has died from COVID-19,” “Social distancing orders are really just a way to install 5G infrastructure,” “COVID-19 is not real!”
  • COVID-19 transmission and immunity: Understanding how COVID-19 is transmitted and who can be infected is a critical component of protecting people from getting or spreading the virus. Public health authorities state that COVID-19 can be transmitted in any location and primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. Public health authorities also agree that all people, regardless of age or other unique characteristics, can be infected with and spread COVID-19. We remove false claims about how and where COVID-19 can be transmitted and who can be infected. This includes:

    • Claims that any group is immune or cannot die from COVID-19 or that a specific activity or treatment results in immunity
    • Claims that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted in certain climates, weather conditions, or locations
    • Claims that COVID-19 can be transmitted from anything other than human-to-human transmission, such as:

      • Claims that COVID-19 is the cause of or transmitted by 5G technologies
      • Claims that COVID-19 is transmitted by the flu shot or flu vaccine, or that getting the flu vaccine or shot makes people more susceptible/likely to get COVID-19
      • Claims that COVID-19 is transmitted by house flies or mosquitoes
      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are the cause of or infect people with COVID-19
    • Ex: “Elderly people are immune from COVID-19,” “COVID-19 cannot be transmitted in tropical climates,” “the COVID-19 vaccine causes COVID-19!”
  • Guaranteed cures or prevention methods for COVID-19: Public health authorities, such as the WHO, say there is currently nothing that can guarantee recovery or guarantee the average person will not get COVID-19. We have also heard from public health authorities that if people thought there was a guaranteed cure or prevention for COVID-19, that could lead them to take incorrect safety measures, ignore appropriate health guidance, or even attempt harmful self-medication. This is why we don’t allow false claims about how to cure or prevent COVID-19. This includes:

    • Claims that for the average person, something can guarantee prevention from getting COVID-19 or can guarantee recovery from COVID-19 before such a cure or prevention has been approved, including:

      • Consuming or inhaling specific items
      • Medical or herbal remedies
      • External remedies for the outer body or skin
    • Ex: “Take Vitamin C – it cures COVID-19,” “If you take this herbal remedy, you will not get COVID-19,” “This topical cream will prevent you from contracting coronavirus.”
  • Discouraging good health practices: There are a number of good health practices public health authorities advise people take to protect themselves from getting or spreading COVID-19. This includes wearing a face mask, social distancing, getting tested for COVID-19 and, more recently, getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs) have issued emergency use authorization for several COVID-19 vaccines, so in addition to false claims about face masks, social distancing and testing, we do not allow false claims about the vaccines or vaccination programs that public health experts have advised us could lead to COVID-19 vaccine rejection. This includes false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients, development, existence, or conspiracies related to the vaccine or vaccination program. As more information becomes available about COVID-19 vaccines, we will continue to iterate on how we apply this policy. This includes:

    • Claims about wearing a face mask, including:

      • Claims that wearing a face mask does not help prevent the spread of COVID-19
      • Claims that face masks include or are connected to 5G technology
      • Claims that wearing a face mask can make the wearer sick
      • Claims that public health authorities do not recommend that healthy people wear masks
    • Claims that social/physical distancing does not help prevent the spread of COVID-19
    • Claims that can discourage someone from getting a government approved COVID-19 test, including:

      • Claims that COVID-19 can be successfully tested without an approved test
      • Claims that COVID-19 tests actually come pre-infected or can infect you with COVID-19
      • Claims that COVID-19 tests approved by public health authorities cannot detect COVID-19
    • Claims about COVID-19 vaccines that contribute to vaccine rejection, including:

      • Claims about the availability or existence of COVID-19 vaccines, specifically:

        • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines do not exist or have not been approved
        • Claims that something other than a COVID-19 vaccine can vaccinate you against COVID-19
    • Claims about the safety or serious side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, including:

      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people
      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause autism
      • Claims that building immunity by getting COVID-19 is safer than getting the vaccine
      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe for a specific group of people, if that group is identified based on protected characteristics or other identifiers not directly related to their personal health, age, or disabilities (e.g. social status, religion, or political views)
      • Claims that the COVID-19 vaccine changes people’s DNA
      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility
      • Claims about the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines which are incredulous or irrational, such as taking the vaccine turns you into a monkey
    • Claims about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, including:

      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines do not provide any immunity to people
      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are not effective in preventing COVID-19
    • Claims about how the COVID-19 vaccine was developed or its ingredients, including:

      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain toxic, prohibited, or harmful ingredients, microchips, animal products, or anything not on the vaccine ingredient list
      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are untested
      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain the mark of the beast
      • Claims COVID-19 vaccines are not tested against a placebo during clinical trials
      • Claims that people died as a result of the COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during clinical trials (Note – We allow claims that people died during the COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNTech clinical trials)
    • Claims involving conspiracy theories about a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccination program, including:

      • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are designed to or were developed in order to control a population for non-public health purposes
      • Claims that specific populations are being used or targeted in order to test the true safety or efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine
    • Examples of claims that violate the above-listed policies include: “Wearing a face mask doesn’t help prevent the spread of COVID,” “Social distancing does nothing to reduce COVID in the community,” “COVID tests come pre-infected with the disease,” “the COVID vaccine will kill you,” “the COVID vaccine contains a microchip,” “the COVID vaccine provides no immunity,” “the COVID vaccine causes autism!”
  • Access to essential health services: Public health infrastructure is at the core of the global fight to combat COVID-19. According to the WHO and other public health authorities, previous outbreaks of infectious diseases have shown that disruption to essential services can be more deadly than the outbreak itself, and ensuring access to essential services is the cornerstone of an effective health response. Adverse effects on the public health system’s ability to cope with the pandemic can have a direct impact on helping people stay healthy and safe in this health emergency. We remove content that can contribute to physical harm by inaccurately representing the access to or availability of public health infrastructure. When we have additional information and/or context to identify it, we also prohibit:

    • Claims that misrepresent the access, availability, or eligibility of health services, such as hospitals, emergency responders, ambulance response, treatments, vaccines.

      • Claims that hospitals or a specific hospital is closed and will not permit infected people.
      • Claims that only certain people are allowed to receive medical care for COVID-19.
      • Claims that hospitals kill patients in order to inflate the number of COVID-19 deaths, to get more money, or in order to sell people’s organs

        • Ex: “Hospitals kill patients to increase their COVID numbers and get more money!”
  • For the duration of the COVID public health emergency, we also remove certain COVID-19 misinformation. In our third-party fact-checking program, fact-checkers rate and review all types of content, and we add a warning label with more information and reduce its distribution ( read more here). We will, however, remove certain COVID-19 misinformation that has been previously debunked by multiple independent fact-checkers. The goal of this policy is to remove common viral hoaxes that have been repeatedly debunked by independent fact-checkers. The claims we have applied this to include:

    • COVID-19 is manmade, including

      • Claims that it was manufactured or bioengineered
      • Claims that it is a bioweapon
      • Claims that it was created by an individual, government, or country

        • Excluding claims that it was studied in, came from, or leaked from a lab without specifically calling it man-made
      • Ex: “The coronavirus is actually a bioweapon!”
    • COVID-19 is or has been patented, including by any specific person or entity

      • Ex: “Did you know COVID-19 was actually patented many years ago?”
    • COVID-19 was predicted, including

      • in “Event 201”’s pandemic exercise in October 2019
      • in “Event 201”’s pandemic simulation in October 2019
      • Excluding:

        • Discussing the October 2019 exercise/simulation without explicitly claiming it predicted the new coronavirus outbreak
        • Claims about other possible predictions
      • Ex: “In October 2019, the Event 201 pandemic exercise predicted the COVID-19 pandemic would happen.”
      • COVID-19 is not new, including

        • As proven by the existence of animal vaccines for coronavirus
        • As proven by disinfectant product labels
        • Ex: “Don’t believe that COVID-19 is anything new. There have been animal vaccines for coronavirus for years.”
    • Health authorities like the WHO or CDC do not recommend that healthy people wear masks.

      • Ex: “The WHO does not recommend that healthy people wear masks.”
  • Similarly, for the duration of the COVID public health emergency, we remove content that repeats other false health information, primarily about vaccines, that are widely debunked by leading health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal of this policy is to combat misinformation about vaccinations and diseases, which if believed could result in reduced vaccinations and harm public health and safety. The claims we have applied this to include:

    • Vaccines cause autism

      • Ex: “Increased vaccinations are why so many kids have autism these days.”
    • Vaccines cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

      • Ex: “Don’t you know vaccines cause SIDS?”
    • Vaccines cause the disease against which they are meant to protect, or cause the person to be more likely to get the disease

      • Ex: “Taking a vaccine actually makes you more likely to get the disease since there’s a strain of the disease inside. Beware!”
    • Vaccines or their ingredients are toxic, poisonous, harmful, or dangerous

      • Ex: “Sure, you can take vaccines, if you don’t mind putting poison in your body.”
    • Natural immunity is safer than vaccine acquired immunity

      • Ex: “It’s safest to just get the disease rather than the vaccine.”
    • It is dangerous to get several vaccines in a short period of time, even if that timing is medically recommended

      • Ex: “Never take more than one vaccine at the same time, that is dangerous – I don’t care what your doctor tells you!”
    • Vaccines are not effective to prevent the disease against which they purport to protect

      • Ex: “Vaccines actually don’t do anything to stop you from getting the disease.”
    • Acquiring measles cannot cause death (requires additional information and/or context)

      • Ex: “Don’t worry about whether you get measles, it can’t be fatal”
  • Pages, Groups, profiles, and Instagram accounts that repeatedly post misinformation related to COVID-19, vaccines, and health may face restrictions, including (but not limited to) reduced distribution, removal from recommendations, or removal from our site.

 

Common questions on how we enforce on COVID-19 and health-related misinformation

A. How do we treat humor or satire?

We allow content that is shared with explicit humor or satire. Humor and satire are vital forms of expression – allowing us to convey challenging ideas, build community, and cope in these hard times.

B. How do we enforce on content shared to condemn or debunk?

We allow content shared to condemn or debunk.

C. How do we enforce on personal experiences or anecdotes?

We will generally allow claims that are expressing a personal anecdote or experience — in service of our value of giving people voice — unless they promote or advocate harmful action around that claim.

D. What options do we provide users who disagree with our decision?

You can find more information ( here on how to dispute decisions we made to remove content. (Content that was directly rated by our fact-checking partners can be appealed directly to them. See more information on our fact-checking program ( here.)

E. How does Facebook find COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation?

We use a combination of human review, technology, and user reports to find and enforce on content that violates these policies, and we encourage people to report content when they see it.

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