Facebook has admitted to a bug that has been blocking legitimate news about the coronavirus pandemic.
The issue appears to have been related to Facebook’s anti-spam algorithm. Users have been seeing the dreaded “Your post goes against our Community Standards on spam” warning, and a slew of posts to legitimate news articles have been removed.
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, took to Twitter to let users know the problem was being addressed:
We’ve restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics – not just those related to COVID-19. This was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too.
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) 3/17/20
Despite Rosen’s reassurance, many individuals replied to his tweet to say Facebook posts were still being flagged and removed. In some cases, posts were being removed, restored and removed again. Even worse, some users pointed out that there were still plenty of fake news and posts about coronavirus “cures” active, while legitimate articles were being flagged.
Whatever the cause of Facebook’s issue, the company has lost a lot of good will—not that it has a lot left after recent scandals—over this issue at a time when people depend on accurate news and information.