Facebook Starts Helping Users Find and Book COVID-19 Vaccinations The social network has also begun labeling all posts about novel coronavirus.

By Stephanie Mlot

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Facebook today revealed a global campaign aimed at bringing 50 million people "a step closer to getting COVID-19 vaccines."

"We've already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative COVID-19 information," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in an announcement. "Now that many countries are moving towards vaccinations for all adults, we're working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated as well."

The first—a feature that shows US users when and where they can get the jab—is housed in the COVID Information Center, which appears directly in your Facebook News Feed and on Instagram. Locations are provided by VaccineFinder, and include hours of operation, contact info, and links to make an appointment. Launched in the Facebook app last March, the COVID-19 Information Center provides fresh data on the virus from local health ministries and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Related: Google Turns Office Buildings Into Covid-19 Vaccination Sites

The social network is also relying on its other subsidiary, WhatsApp, to connect councils, nonprofits, and international organizations with folks through chatbots. Jurisdictions in Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa have used the platform to disseminate information and support residents during vaccine launches.

"We're working with health authorities and governments to expand their WhatsApp chatbots to help people register for vaccines," Zuckerberg explained. "More than 3 billion messages related to COVID have already been sent [...] to citizens through official WhatsApp chatbots, so this update will help with the vaccination effort as well."

Got immunized? Inspire others to do the same with new Instagram Stories stickers, which connect people directly to the Information Center.

Sharing data, however, isn't helpful if it isn't true. Last month, Facebook expanded its list of false COVID claims to include debunked data about the pandemic. Now, the company is putting its label-maker to use, marking all posts "generally about COVID-19 vaccines," safety, and related subtopics.

"It will provide more information so people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share," Facebook said, highlighting temporary measures to reduce the distribution of violating or misleading content and elevate authoritative sources.

"The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work," according to Zuckerberg. "They're our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life. I'm looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too."

Stephanie Mlot

Reporter at PCMag

Stephanie began as a PCMag reporter in May 2012. She moved to New York City from Frederick, Md., where she worked for four years as a multimedia reporter at the second-largest daily newspaper in Maryland. She interned at Baltimore magazine and graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (in the town of Indiana, in the state of Pennsylvania) with a degree in journalism and mass communications.

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