Dr. Fauci's Email on Masking


Facebook fact checks users who share screenshots of Dr. Fauci's email on the ineffectiveness of masks: Facebook censored screenshots of Dr. Anthnony Fauci's publicly released email to Sylvia Burwell in which he instructed her not to wear a mask. In his email dated Feb. 5, 2020 Fauci wrote, "Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection..." Later Fauci explained, “The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep[ing] out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you.” The email mirrors his attitude in a March 8, 2020 "60 Minutes" interview in which he said "people should not be walking around with masks…" Facebook fact-checker AFP claimed that the screenshots and articles reporting on Fauci's email are misleading because "[t]hat consensus changed as new information emerged" about COVID-19. USA Today and PolitiFact, two other Facebook fact checkers, offered similar defenses of their "missing context" claims. Fact-checked posts lose exposure on Facebook feeds as they are negatively affected by the platform's algorithm. According to Facebook, users fail to click through a fact-check interstitial to see the post 95% of the time.