Following widespread misinformation and fear around COVID-19 vaccination across the Pacific, Facebook has launched a public education campaign to combat health-related misinformation.
Facebook told Radio New Zealand that its campaign was aimed at five Pacific Island countries and regions to identify and combat misinformation.
The locations and languages are Wallis & Futuna (French), New Caledonia (French), Tonga (English and Tongan), Solomon Islands (English and Solomon Islands Pijin), and Cook Islands (English).
Facebook is the dominating social media platform in the Pacific and the awareness would address misinformation about the pandemic and vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign follows an earlier launch in Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. It will run for five weeks featuring graphics and videos.
Facebook said the content aimed to encourage three behaviours: be informed that misinformation exists, find out more to confirm if the information is indeed false and visit the local health authority to get accurate information.
Facebook director for public policy in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands Mia Garlick said the company wanted people to make informed decisions.
“We are extending our efforts to reach more people across the Pacific, ensuring they can easily compare what they see with official public health resources.
“We will continue to work with health experts including the World Health Organisation (WHO), and local partners, to make sure that we have the right policies in place to reduce the spread of harmful COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on our platform.”
Facebook says it has worked closely with the WHO to direct people to authoritative COVID-19 information, and to “do more to identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the virus.”