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Exclusive interview on Facebook COVID-19 profile frames

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Facebook recently announced the launch of a new social media drive allowing people to add frames and graphics to their profiles on Facebook and Instagram, saying they have either had the COVID vaccine, or plan to.

We caught up with Adaora Ikenze, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa to get more insights about what Facebook is doing to increase its investments in vaccines, why there is an interest in advocating for vaccine acceptance and how Facebook intends to spread the word and get more people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why has Facebook launched the COVID profile frames at this time?

The launch of the COVID profile frames on Facebook is primarily to drive platform awareness and education about COVID vaccines in Nigeria, and nudge more people to get vaccinated.

As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more readily available to larger groups across Nigeria, we are teaming up with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to launch new Facebook profile frames and Instagram GIPHY stickers that allow users to share their support for getting vaccinated with their family and friends.

Although thousands of Nigerians have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of people remain hesitant about whether to accept the vaccine or not. How does Facebook intend to overcome this challenge? 

Prior to now, we had launched the COVID Information Center on all Facebook products. We are working closely with national and global health authorities such as the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to help drive awareness about vaccines, including routine immunization, and also in removing barriers to access to vaccines. By using our scale and speed to reach people and increase acceptance of the vaccine, we are doing our part to help people get credible information, get vaccinated and come back together safely.

What are these profile frames meant to accomplish and why should people participate? 

The new profile frames and graphics are part of Facebook’s drive to enable people to say they’ve either had the COVID vaccine, or plan to. As access to the COVID-19 vaccine expands, it is increasingly important to spread the word, provide credible information and encourage others to get vaccinated to reduce the spread and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new profile frames and GIPHY stickers let you share your support for COVID-19 vaccines, and see that others you respect and care about are doing the same.

In the weeks ahead, people will be able to see a summary in their News Feed of all their friends, family members and people they follow who are using the new COVID-19 vaccine profile frames. People who adopt the first-party frames will be part of the list of profiles that will be shown to others as we all work together towards overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic for good.

How can people add these frames and graphics to their profiles on Facebook and Instagram?

To add a COVID-19 vaccine frame to your Facebook profile picture

Open your profile in the Facebook app

Click your profile picture

Click ‘Add frame’

Search for the ‘COVID Vaccine’ frames and select the one you want to use

Click ‘Use as Profile Picture’ to save

To use COVID-19 vaccine Instagram stickers (from GIPHY) on your Instagram story

Open Instagram and add to your story – take a new picture or use a photograph or video of your choosing

From your Instagram story, tap the ‘add media’ button, or swipe up to add Stickers from GIPHY

In the search bar, use the search term ‘COVID Vaccine’ and select a sticker of your choosing (scroll through the options to find the one you want to use)

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Position this on your story image or video

Use the hashtag #GetVaccinated if you wish, then post

Will Facebook be verifying that people have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine if they participate?

No, when people add a profile frame, Facebook will not be verifying that they have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. We do not make any inferences about a person’s vaccination status from their selection or use of the COVID-19 profile frames.

What is Facebook doing with this data?

When you add a Covid-19 vaccine profile frame, we will include that action in a total count of everyone who has done so. Your profile picture may also appear to your friends in their News Feed and you may also see the faces of your friends who have used this feature. National and global health authorities will be able to access aggregate user adoption numbers, broken out by country, via the Frame Studio tool.

Will Facebook use information from the profile frame to inform advertising on Facebook?

We do not use data from a user’s selection of a COVID-19 profile frame to make an inference of a user’s vaccination status. Because we do not make an inference about a user’s vaccination status from a user’s selection of a COVID-19 profile frame, we do not use vaccination status for ads targeting. Of course, actions that you take on Facebook feed into our ads system, so the fact that you used a profile frame may inform the ads you see.

Are there any other series of products related to COVID vaccines that Facebook will be launching in the near future?

We will be launching new tools that will help people set up appointments and encourage friends and family to do the same. More information will be provided once we are ready to launch them in Nigeria.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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