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Facebook will provide free advertisements to the World Health Organization as it seeks to ensure users are not misinformed about the coronavirus. FB stock was down yesterday but started to grow in the premarket.
As the coronavirus spreads on a pace nobody even could imagine (94,192 infected, 3,219 dead), more and more companies are joining forces to help prevent further damage. Among them is one of the widest spread social media in the world – Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB).
Yesterday FB lost over 5%, today while coronavirus fears are spreading, the Facebook stock is up in premarket trading. Now it is trading at $190.45 (+2.45%).
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his platform will offer the World Health Organization free advertising for all that considers COVID-19 response and will do everything necessary to take down false claims about the virus.
Users who search for the term coronavirus on Facebook can already see a pop-up that directs them to the WHO or local health authority for the latest information on the outbreak. Users in the countries where the WHO has reported person-to-person transmission will be shown that information in their News Feed.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg explained that the WHO will get free ads and the social network will give “millions more in ad credits” to other organizations too.
He also added:
“The company will remove false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations. We’re also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation — for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease.”
Just for reminder, Amazon did a similar thing by removing all the users who were falsely advertising some products as the “cure” for coronavirus.
Facebook Taking a Different Approach, Coronavirus Expanding
During the last few months or even years, Facebook was going through severe criticism for the spread of misinformation on its platform, particularly during political campaigns. Last year, when the company openly said it will not check claims by political parties even though they might be false, the stocks started falling rapidly. It seems that this time, the company chose not to repeat such a mistake so it took a different approach.
As per the company’s announcement, researchers are using “aggregated and anonymized” Facebook data, like population density maps, in order to understand the spread of the virus.
Co-Op with Bill Gates
Zuckerberg also confirmed that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization founded by himself and his wife Priscilla Chan, had teamed up with the Gates Foundation. He explained that through this partnership, “researchers in Cambodia were able to sequence the full genome of the virus in days, making it much easier and faster for them to identify if people had the new coronavirus.”
Last week, Facebook canceled its annual F8 developer conference, previously set in May, due to concerns about the outbreak. The conference was due to take place in San Jose, California. The U.S. has now recorded over 100 coronavirus cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scaling Back on Libra Plans?
However, even though some were thinking this situation might come as a tailwind for Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra, it might not be the case after all.
Facebook Inc. will scale down plans for its cryptocurrency project Libra due to regulatory pushback, the media reported on Tuesday.
Reportedly, the tech company will offer digital versions of government-backed currencies, such as the dollar and euro, alongside the Libra token. In addition, Libra won’t be available to use on Facebook’s services, people close to the matter told the newsite.
Earlier, Swiss Minister of Finance and President Ueli Maurer claimed Facebook’s cryptocurrency “failed” in its current form.
South Korea Pension Fund Invests in Facebook amid Coronavirus
Still, there are some who strongly believe in the social network’s stock. South Korea’s National Pension Service Investment Management recently made some big bets on American blue chips and tech giants in the fourth quarter.
The manager, which handles the country’s $600 billion National Pension Fund, materially increased positions in AT&T Inc (NYSE: T), Facebook, General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), and Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) stock.