Facebook’s third party fact-checkers, selected by the liberal Poynter Institute, have officially labeled World Health Organization’s (WHO) statement about asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 as “misleading.” Ironically, in April, Facebook used the WHO to disprove myths about COVID-19.
According to Healthfeedback.org, a wing of Sciencefeedback.org, two scientists analyzed a piece on CNBC and determined that the “statements by the WHO and the reporting by CNBC were misleading and imprecise.” The CNBC piece touting the WHO’s statement was covered up with an interstitial, or filter, and labeled “partially false.”
On April 16, Facebook VP of Integrity Guy Rosen wrote, “We’re going to start showing messages in News Feed to people who have liked, reacted or commented on harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that we have since removed.” He elaborated that people who had interacted with those kinds of posts would be connected to pieces published by the WHO.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that around 40 percent of those who catch COVID-19 catch it from others who show no symptoms. One scientist quoted in the fact-check called the statements a “misleading PR disaster.”
Nina Fefferman, a Mathematics professor at the University of Tennessee, wrote that “This is more the fault of the WHO than the reporting.”
As far back as mid-January, WHO was reporting information that was not accurate, based on misinformation from China. An infamous tweet dated January 14 from the WHO stated, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”