Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that the social network’s employees will likely be among the last back to the office when society reopens following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“It’s clear that the return to work when it happens, it will have to be done in a staggered way,” Zuckerberg said at a CNN town hall about the coronavirus with his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan.
Zuckerberg’s remarks echoed comments made in a Facebook post shared earlier on Thursday that mentioned Facebook employees will be required to work from home at least until the end of May. That helps create a safer environment, he said, for people who have to be in the office to do their work. The company is also not hosting meetings that have 50 or more people until June 2021.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in December, Facebook and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the couple’s philanthropic company, have announced a number of efforts to help combat the virus. Facebook has offered grants to US local new organizations and small businesses and launched a coronavirus information hub to feature more trustworthy sources. Still, misinformation including that thecontinues to spread, raising questions about how well the social network is combating this problem.
On Thursday, Facebook said that it will start alerting users messages in their News Feeds if they’ve engaged with harmful misinformation related to COVID-19 that the company has removed. Some of the harmful misinformation Facebook has pulled down includes claims that drinking bleach can cure the coronavirus.
Zuckerberg said that fact-checkers will also add warning labels to posts with misinformation and so far it’s working. When people saw this label, 95% of the time they didn’t go on to view the original content, he said.
“Both of these sides of the equation, showing authoritative information and limiting the spread of misinformation, are incredibly important especially so during a health crisis,” Zuckerberg said in the interview with CNN.
UCSF and the, a medical research nonprofit funded by the couple’s philanthropic initiative, recently put together a new lab to expand coronavirus testing. The lab can process up to 2,000 samples per day and return results in as fast as 24 hours.
Chan said resources at the CZI have been reoriented to focus on the coronavirus. The lab isn’t only a testing center but an established scientific lab, she said. When an individual tests positive for coronavirus, researchers are also doing a full genome sequence from the positive test.
“They look for tiny mutations in the coronavirus sequence that allows the scientists to sort of back calculate how many other unknown cases there are in a community,” Chan said.