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Facebook unveils new tool to help 50 million people get vaccinated

Facebook Inc. has taken heat for allowing the spread of vaccine misinformation on its digital platforms while other tech companies have worked to assist in the distribution and administration of shots.

But in a blog post Monday, Facebook said it is launching a tool in the U.S. on where to get COVID-19 vaccines, providing a link to make an appointment, and adding a COVID-19 information area to its photo-sharing site Instagram.

“Today we’re launching a global campaign to help bring 50 million people a step closer to getting Covid-19 vaccines,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in the post.

The social-media giant
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also said it started adding labels to posts that discuss the safety of the shots. Facebook has removed 2 million pieces of disinformation on false claims about the coronavirus and vaccines since February, according to the blog post. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines are being labeled.

The about-face comes as companies like ServiceNow Inc.
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Adobe Inc.
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Salesforce.com Inc.
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Google parent Alphabet Inc.
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and others ramp up efforts to deploy vaccines, and 10 days before the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter Inc. TWTR are scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on misinformation on their platforms.

Read more: ‘The biggest data puzzle of our lifetime’ — Vaccine distribution effort gets help from Big Tech

Facebook has been roundly criticized by lawmakers and privacy groups for a deluge of false claims and conspiracies about vaccines on its properties during the pandemic.

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