With more than 2.6 billion daily users, it's no secret that Facebook (META -0.76%) reaches a lot of people around the world across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Building on its COVID-19 information center, the tech stock recently announced a big push to provide authoritative information about coronavirus vaccines. This new campaign will connect users with localized vaccine information, remove more vaccine misinformation from its platforms, and donate $120 million in ad credits to health agencies.
Corinne Cardina, Fool.com's healthcare and cannabis bureau chief, spoke with Nick Sciple, the bureau chief of tech, energy, and industrials, on a Fool Live episode recorded Feb. 11, about how Facebook and Twitter (TWTR 2.25%) are regulating content and posts about COVID vaccines.
Corinne Cardina: Nick, welcome back. How are you?
Nick Sciple: Yeah, I'm doing great. Just happy to be here with you talking stocks living the dream, as I say, every day.
Cardina: It's our first time on Fool Live together, actually. Nick and I work together a lot offline. Nick is our tech expert, I come from the healthcare side. We're going to try to balance our interests here and try to get some good takeaways for investors. Of course, Facebook is a Fool pick. It's pretty interesting to see how they are responding. They've been responding. If you look at Facebook's involvement in health, they actually launched a preventative health dashboard. It was before the pandemic, at least a year ago. Then they did a lot of this organization and localized information when it came to voting registration. We'll talk about that a little bit more. This COVID-19 vaccine, when and where can I get vaccinated, is taking the different lessons they've learned from these parts and putting it in the most urgent, high-value thing that they can really be doing right now. But let's start high-level. Nick, what do you think about Facebook doing this big drive for education and organization around the vaccine?
Sciple: I think there's a few ways to think about it. I think if you wanted to take a cynical perspective, you would say Facebook need some positive PR, and this is a really good way to do that. The perspective I have on it is more of that this speaks to Facebook's importance in the world. We're living in a universe where, and I talked about it this morning on The Morning Show, I think, the place people go first for news, what's really driving the bus in the way we engage with one another is the way we engage with people online. I think people are going more to Facebook and Twitter as the first place to get their news than maybe they would have gone to traditional media outlets. Folks are cutting the cord, what have you. It just speaks to Facebook's importance, just the way people are using these platforms. Another thing I think it's important to think about, is Facebook is not a U.S. and Canada or U.S. and Europe only property. Facebook, globally, has 1.84 billion daily active users as of December 2020. Only a 195 million of those are in the U.S. and Canada. Actually saw a slight decline in the most recent quarter in the U.S. and Canada, but when you look globally, Facebook is incredibly relevant, even more relevant than it is in some of these other geographies. I think it speaks to Facebook's importance in the cultural fabric of how people interact with one another. There is not a lot of companies that we would care if they had some COVID dashboard. The fact that we're talking to them at all and that they are releasing these types of press releases, I think, speaks to their role in the world. Their importance is, you mentioned, this adds on to work that they've done in the political realm. I think it's just a testament, so I think Facebook is where people interact today. It's the town square, particularly in a world where you can't go to the town square because you're not supposed to because of a pandemic. I think it just indicates Facebook's importance in the world.
Cardina: Yeah, absolutely. I also think that there is a really interesting dichotomy between actively pushing accurate information and what are we going to do with all the misinformation that's out there. That's something that Facebook has been in the news, time and time again, rightly or wrongly. It's fair to say Twitter is also approaching misinformation on their platform. They are not having a dashboard like this for you to accurately find everything, but they are trying to hide misinformation and penalize users that are putting out debunked claims about the vaccine. It's good PR, I will definitely agree with that. Donating ad credits seems smart to me. We'll talk a little bit about its advertising business, that is the main part of its business.