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Facebook Launches New Push to Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Messaging Within Vulnerable Communities

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As the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues to gain momentum, Facebook is looking to use its reach to promote vaccine information to the most impacted communities, with a specific focus on those that may have limited exposure to vaccine info.

First off, Facebook is donating $5 million to Go Give One, a COVID-19 fundraising campaign created by the World Health Organization Foundation.

As explained by Facebook:

“The campaign calls on everyone to play their part in helping to vaccinate the world, with the money raised going to an international fund called COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access). We’ll do this by donating the first $20 into Facebook Fundraisers created for the United Nations Foundation beginning April 28 in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Norway.”

Facebook vaccine awareness push

Facebook is also looking to expand its vaccine messaging by using the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index to identify the communities most likely to need additional support in their vaccine awareness and take-up efforts. Based on this, Facebook will highlight more vaccine and health information in the News Feeds of users within these communities. 

Facebook’s also looking to help boost awareness content from partners that are working to help reach people most affected by COVID-19. 

“In the US, we’re working with partners like KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), BlackDoctor.org and the National Academy of Medicine to amplify content that features black doctors, nurses and researchers answering common questions about COVID-19 vaccines. And we’re supporting AARP and Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health to run Spanish-language campaigns about COVID-19 vaccines. We’re also partnering with Black-owned social enterprise Broccoli City to host a series of conversations on Facebook between Black influencers, doctors and scientists on vaccine equity and the overall impact of COVID-19.”

Facebook’s also launching similar awareness campaigns in the UK, in association with Dope Black Dads, the British Islamic Medical Association and the Caribbean African Health Network.

And finally, Facebook will also promote posts featuring healthcare workers, as healthcare workers are the most trusted voices in regards vaccines. Facebook will work with UNICEF, as well as other partners, on new messaging information pushes around this element in more than 100 countries. 

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These are the latest measures in Facebook’s ongoing vaccine awareness and promotion efforts, which also includes in-app prompts to increase awareness of local vaccine roll-outs, vaccine profile frames and stickers, on both Facebook and Instagram, to share participation with your connections, and updated rules around sharing vaccine misinformation and myths.   

In combination, and aligned with Facebook’s massive audience, these efforts could have a big impact in increasing take-up, with the local awareness efforts alone likely seeing broader reach than any other media outlet. 

Facebook has been widely criticized for the role that it’s played in amplifying the spread of dangerous movements, like anti-vaxxers, in the past, but it should also get some credit for its work to boost the broader push here – which could also signify a re-think within the platform in respect to its approach to similar concerns moving forward.

Or maybe that’s wishful thinking – but you would have to assume that now, with the COVID-19 vaccine push in full swing, and in the wake of the Capitol Riots. After all this, Facebook must be assessing the impacts its platform can have on such moving forward.  

Here’s hoping that leads to new policy shifts. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem

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Shervin Hajipour's song "Baraye" draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life

Shervin Hajipour’s song “Baraye” draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life – Copyright Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)/AFP –

David Vujanovic

Even though he has been silenced, Iranian pop singer Shirvin Hajipour’s impassioned song in support of protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in custody remains an unofficial anthem of the movement.

The song “Baraye” notched up 40 million views on Instagram before it was deleted when Hajipour was arrested, but he has since been freed on bail and has distanced himself from politics, likely as a condition for his release.

Baraye, the Persian word “For” or “Because”, is composed of tweets about the protests and highlights longings people have for things lacking in sanctions-hit Iran, where many complain of hardship caused by economic mismanagement.

It also draws on everyday activities that have landed people in trouble with the authorities in the Islamic republic.

“For the sake of dancing in the streets; Because of the fear felt while kissing; For my sister, your sister, your sisters,” the song’s lyrics say.

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“Because of the embarrassment of an empty pocket; Because we are longing for a normal life… Because of this polluted air.”

Baraye has been heard played loudly at night from apartment blocks in Iran to show support for protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16, after the notorious morality police arrested her for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.

It was also sung with gusto by the Iranian diaspora at rallies in more than 150 cities around the world at the weekend.

In one clip shared by the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, a group of schoolgirls without headscarves is seen singing Baraye in class with their backs to the camera.

The tune was removed from Hajipour’s Instagram account shortly after his arrest but is still widely available on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

– ‘Because of forced Instagram stories’ –

Hajipour’s lawyer Majid Kaveh said he was released on bail at noon on Tuesday.

The reformist Shargh newspaper said his family had been informed of his arrest in the northern city of Sari on Saturday, in a report that cited his sister Kamand Hajipour.

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She had said in an Instagram post that her parents had been informed of his arrest in a call from the city’s intelligence ministry offices.

Shortly after his release, Hajipour was back on Instagram, but this time to apologise and distance himself from politics.

“I’m here to say I’m okay,” he told his 1.9 million followers on the platform.

“But I’m sorry that some particular movements based outside of Iran — which I have had no relations with — made some improper political uses of this song.

“I would not swap this (country) for anywhere else and I will stay for my homeland, my flag, my people, and I will sing.

“I don’t want to be a plaything for those who do not think of me, you or this country,” he added.

In response to his post, many on Twitter suggested the line “Because of forced Instagram stories” should be added to the lyrics of the song.

Human rights groups including Article 19 have repeatedly called on Iran to end its use of forced confessions, which they say are false and extracted under duress or even torture.

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In one recent case, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared after becoming involved in a dispute on a Tehran bus with another woman who accused her of removing her headscarf.

She was held by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and appeared on television in what activists said was a forced confession before being released on bail in late August.

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