FB ‘shelved’ report that made it look bad on Covid misinformation


Facebook reportedly shelved a report for the first quarter of 2021 that might have reflected poorly on the social networking giant for its handling of Covid misinformation on its platform.

The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the report, said that the most-viewed link in the first quarter had a headline that could promote Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Fearing public outcry, Facebook suppressed the report.

One of the headlines in a Facebook post read, “A ‘healthy’ doctor died two weeks after getting a COVID-19 vaccine; CDC is investigating why.”

The article was published by The South Florida Sun Sentinel and republished by The Chicago Tribune.

Facebook executives apparently “debated whether it would cause a public relations problem, according to the internal emails” and ultimately decided not to publish it, the NYT report mentioned on Friday.

“We considered making the report public earlier but since we knew the attention it would garner, exactly as we saw this week, there were fixes to the system we wanted to make,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.

Facebook this week released its first report on the most widely viewed content in News Feed, starting with domains, links, Pages and posts in the US.

Facebook said that to paint a complete picture and provide more extensive detail of what people actually see on its platform, it will release ‘Widely Viewed Content Reports’ on a quarterly basis, starting in the US and eventually including more international data.