As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more readily available to larger groups of the U.S. population, Facebook has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch new Facebook profile frames that allow users to share their support for getting vaccinated with their family and friends. The effort follows a similar launch in the U.K. through a partnership with National Health Services (NHS), which has already resulted in a quarter of Facebook users in the U.K. having seen a Facebook friend with the profile frame.
At launch, users in the U.S. can pick between frames which include banners that say either “Let’s Get Vaccinated” or “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine” in English or Spanish. The banner will appear overlaid on the edge of their profile picture next to a blue bubble that reads “We Can Do This.”
Although there were already a variety of vaccine-promoting profile frames to choose from on Facebook, these were all third-party efforts until now. The new frames were created, in part, by Facebook, which will allow the company to better track their usage over time.
In the weeks ahead, Facebook says it will show people a summary in their News Feed of all your friends, family members and people you follow who are using the new COVID-19 vaccine profile frames. For that reason, adopting the first-party frames will be important, if you want to be a part of that list that’s shown to others.
Facebook notes that it’s launching the frames because research shows how social norms can have a major impact on people’s attitude and behavior when it comes to their health — a notable assertion, given that the company wants to otherwise downplay the power its network has when it comes to the spread of disinformation or anti-vax sentiments.
For this effort, Facebook believes, and the research supports, that when people see others who they know and trust getting the vaccine, they’ll be encouraged to do the same. This can be particularly effective when it comes to encouraging those who were otherwise unsure about getting the vaccine.
Leveraging social media to encourage vaccinations has been part of the CDC’s toolkit as well, which is why you likely saw several photos from healthcare workers and essentials workers sharing their vaccination photos and talking about their experience. The CDC had also provided sets of sample social media graphics and messages that could be used by organizations that wanted to promote vaccinations across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The new profile frames are rolling out starting today to Facebook users in the U.S.
Kenya labor court rules that Facebook can be sued
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A judge in Kenya has ruled that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, can be sued in the East African country.
Meta tried to have the case dropped, arguing that Kenyan courts do not have jurisdiction over their operations, but the labor court judge dismissed that in a ruling on Monday.
A former Facebook moderator in Kenya, Daniel Motaung, is suing the company claiming poor working conditions.
Motaung said that while working as a moderator he was exposed to gruesome content such as rape, torture and beheadings that risked his and colleagues’ mental health.
He said Meta did not offer mental health support to employees, required unreasonably long working hours, and offered minimal pay. Motaung worked in Facebook’s African hub in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, which is operated by Samasource Ltd.
Following the judge’s decision that Meta can be sued in Kenya, the next step in case will be considered by the court on Mar. 8.
Meta is facing a separate court case in which two Ethiopians say hate speech was allowed and even promoted on Facebook amid heated rhetoric over their country’s deadly Tigray conflict.
That lawsuit alleges that Meta hasn’t hired enough content moderators to adequately monitor posts, that it uses an algorithm that prioritizes hateful content, and that it responds more slowly to crises in Africa than elsewhere in the world.
The Associated Press and more than a dozen other media outlets last year reported that Facebook had failed to quickly and effectively moderate hate speech in several places around the world, including in Ethiopia. The reports were based on internal Facebook documents leaked by former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen.