Meta removed 180,000 pieces of Australian content in 2021 for being health-damaging misinformation

More than 180,000 pieces of content were removed from Facebook and Instagram pages and Australia-specific accounts last year for violating Community Meta Standards as harmful health misinformation.

It should be noted that the figure of 180,000 was up from 110,000 in 2020.

Meta said Australians also benefited from the content it removed from other countries, with a total of 11 million people affected worldwide.

The data was revealed in an Australia-focused Meta Transparency report published by the Digital Industry Group (DIGI) as part of its oversight of Australia’s Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation.

Meta reported over 3.5 million Australian user visits in Q4 2021 to a dedicated Covid-19 news hub on its platforms. From the start of the pandemic until June 2021, it deleted more than 3,000 accounts, pages and groups for breaking its rules against the spread of Covid-19 and misinformation about vaccines.

He also said some commenters have expressed concerns about the social media spread
misinformation while promoting echo chambers and polarization.

The report also notes that academic research on the role of algorithms in political and social polarization has yielded conflicting results, with many studies indicating that social media is not the primary cause of polarization.

“Nevertheless, Meta aims to provide greater transparency and control to users over how algorithms rank and distribute content. To that end, we have included an additional commitment to ensure transparency of the work we do here,” added Meta.

It should be noted that Google, Microsoft, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and Redbubble (an online marketplace for print-on-demand products) have joined DIGI’s voluntary code of conduct to combat the spread of misinformation in Australia in February 2021.

However, since its inception, the code has gained two other signatories which are Adobe and Apple.

It should be noted that signatories to the Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation have committed to taking action to combat online lying, including publishing and adopting policies on their approach and allowing users to report content that may violate these policies.

Part of the code’s commitment is the publication of transparency reports on each company’s activities on their individual platforms.

DIGI said: “If we can increase understanding of these complex challenges over time, then industry, government, civil society and academia can all continuously improve their policies and approaches.”

DIGI Chief Executive Sunita Bose reportedly said the code promotes greater transparency and public accountability in technology efforts to combat harmful misinformation, and DIGI looks forward to working with the new administration and others. to maximize its effectiveness.

“The 2021 Transparency Reports provide new data on disinformation in Australia, and the many interventions to remove and flag false claims and accounts, elevate reputable content and partner with researchers,” it said. she adds.

Other platforms

According to Google’s report, the tech giant removed more than 90,000 YouTube videos in Australia that violated its community guidelines, and more than 5,000 videos were uploaded from Australia that contained dangerous or misleading information about the Covid-19.

Additionally, the number of Australian medical misinformation videos removed from TikTok increased significantly in 2021, with just 24 removed in January and over 4,000 removed in September.

TikTok reportedly said the increase in medical misinformation deletions coincided with factors directly related to Covid-19 such as the arrival of the Delta strain and government-initiated infection management measures such as lockdowns and restrictions on travel, and the parallel deployment of the vaccination program .

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