Facebook will put a coronavirus information center at the top of the News Feed in the United States and other countries around the world, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today. In a call with reporters, Zuckerberg said that a collection of information from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control would begin appearing on top of the feed over the next day.
The introduction of the information center comes after Facebook had been promoting links to the WHO and CDC inside the News Feed itself, as well as on Instagram. Facebook has also linked to the organizations in search results when people run queries on “coronavirus” or “COVID-19.”
The goal of the center is to direct Facebook’s large user base to vetted information and to offer a strong counterweight to the misinformation that spreads elsewhere on its service and around the internet.
Separately, Facebook announced that it would make its Workplace product free for the government and for emergency services. Zuckerberg said the service, which closely resembles the consumer version of Facebook, is “right in the sweet spot for the type of folks we think can get value from a service like this. [It’s a] familiar interface, but with groups where people can disseminate information thorugh their organization in ways we think can be pretty useful.”
Zuckerberg also noted that he is working from home during the virus outbreak along with the vast majority of other Facebook employees. “I am definitely working from home,” Zuckerberg said. “I don’t think it would be very good to encourage everyone else to do that and then not do that myself.”