Have you liked or commented on a Facebook post about the COVID-19 pandemic that turned out to be a hoax?

Facebook is now going to let users know if they liked, reacted or commented on posts with harmful misinformation about the virus that moderators later removed.

The social media company says it will also direct people who engaged with those posts to information about virus myths that have been debunked by the World Health Organisation.

People will start seeing these warning messages in the coming weeks, Facebook said on Thursday.

The company is also starting a new “Get the Facts” feature on the COVID-19 information centre of its news feed that will include fact-checked articles from partner organisations that debunk misinformation about the coronavirus.

Many of Silicon Valley’s popular online platforms, including Facebook, have taken unprecedented steps to curb the wave of dangerous misinformation that has hit the internet with the coronavirus’ spread.

Facebook, for example, has banned ads promising coronavirus treatments or cures.

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The tech giant is using new algorithms and is trying to put facts about the virus from health officials and resources to state or local health departments in front of its users, with an informational page.

But that hasn’t stopped bad information from spreading quickly.

Conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus and the vaccines being developed to prevent it still pop up daily.

Posts or videos that promote unverified treatments and cures have raked in thousands of views.

Facebook users, for example, viewed a false claim that the virus is “destroyed by chlorine dioxide” nearly 200,000 times, estimates a new study out today from Avaaz, a left-leaning advocacy group that tracks and researches online misinformation.

The group found more than 100 pieces of misinformation about the coronavirus on Facebook, some which were viewed millions of times even after the claims had been marked as false or misleading by fact checkers.

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AAP

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