Facebook to send reminder messages to ‘at-risk’ people to get a flu jab

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Facebook users are to be shown messages reminding at-risk sections of the population to get a flu vaccine this winter, the social network has announced.

The new messages will appear at the top of user feeds and will direct people to details about the flu jab on the NHS website.

Facebook said it has created the new alerts in response to health experts urging people to get a vaccine to help minimise the risk of people contracting concurrent flu and Covid-19 over the winter months.

The new messages, which will begin to appear from Friday afternoon, will ask at-risk people such as healthcare workers, pregnant women and the elderly to go to the NHS website and check whether they need to get a vaccine and how to get it.

As well as being able to go to the NHS website to find out more, users will have the option to share the message with friends on the platform to help spread the message.

Earlier this month, the company also announced a policy change which banned adverts which explicitly discourage people from getting a vaccination.

That came after a report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and Restless Development, published in September, accused social media platforms of failing to remove 95% of anti-vaccine misinformation linked to coronavirus, even that which was reported to them.

Facebook and other social media and internet platforms have been accused of failing to do enough to stop the spread of misinformation, particularly that linked to the pandemic.

However, Facebook says it has directed more than two billion people to official health guidance through its Covid-19 Information Centre on the platform and removed more than seven million pieces of Covid-19 misinformation between April and June.



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