- Facebook suspended approvals of augmented reality (AR) effects that creators make for its social network and photo-sharing app Instagram, citing concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. The social media giant is working with its contractors to send reviewers home, where they can't approve or publish new AR effects, per a Facebook Group post.
- Creators who use Facebook's Spark AR Hub to design digital effects can continue to work with its software tools. They also can submit their digital effects for later review, while some of its automated validation processes will still provide feedback.
- Facebook is working to lessen the disruption to let creators return to publishing, but is unsure of the exact timing of those developments. The company will provide updates in Spark AR Hub, according to the group post.
Facebook's suspension of AR content reviews is another sign of how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting the operations of companies as health officials worldwide urge people to practice social distancing, avoid non-essential travel and work from home, among other measures to limit the infection rate.
The limitation might affect marketers who sponsor AR content like filters and lenses that creators produce with Spark AR Hub, but it's unclear whether the limitation will affect AR-based campaigns that advertisers submit through Facebook's other sales and marketing channels.
Facebook's suspension of AR content reviews follows an unflattering report about the company's policies toward contract workers by The Intercept. The publication found that Facebook's content moderators, many of whom work for outside vendors, weren't allowed to work from home while the company allowed full-time workers to do so. The company this week sent those content moderators home, The Verge reported.
Facebook is among the social media companies facing the daunting task of preventing misinformation about the coronavirus from circulating on its platform. The company this week started using artificial intelligence content moderation to flag possibly objectionable content, and inadvertently blocked legitimate news stories about the pandemic on its platform, according to TechCrunch. Twitter and YouTube also are working to automate the process of screening out misinformation about the coronavirus, per Recode.