Facebook bug wrongly deleted authentic coronavirus news

Coronavirus
A shopper wearing a mask

A shopper wearing a mask is pictured near a sign advising out-of-stock sanitizer, facial masks and rubbing alcohol at a store following warnings about COVID-19 in Kirkland, Washington on March 5, 2020. – The US reported its first case of the disease in January and its first death on February 29 — both in the state of Washington in the country’s Pacific Northwest. Since then the toll has risen to 11 and the virus has spread to at least 14 states, infecting more than 180 people, according to an AFP tally. On Thursday, Washington state officials announced a jump in cases, from 39 to 70. Ten of the 11 deaths have been reported there, with the other in California. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook said a bug in its anti-spam system temporarily blocked the publication of links to news stories about the coronavirus. Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said on Twitter Tuesday that the company was working on a fix for the problem.

Users complained that links to news stories about school closings and other information related to the virus outbreak were blocked by the company’s automated system.

Later on Tuesday, Rosen tweeted that Facebook had restored all the incorrectly deleted posts, which also covered topics beyond the coronavirus.

Rosen said the problems were unrelated to any changes in Facebook’s content-moderator workforce. The company reportedly sent its human moderators home this week because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A representative for Facebook did not immediately respond to questions on the status of Facebook’s content moderators, many of whom do not work directly for the company and are not always able to work from home.

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