Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says return to work will have to be 'staggered'

The social network is also notifying users who have seen misinformation about COVID-19.

Queenie Wong
Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
2 min read

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan appeared at a town hall about coronavirus aired by CNN on Thursday night.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

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 during 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 with 50 or more people until June 2021.

Watch this: Vaccines, antibody tests, treatments: The science of ending the pandemic

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 around rumors that the coronavirus was caused by 5G continues to spread, raising questions about how well the social network is combating this problem.

On Thursday, Facebook said that it will start alerting users with messages in their News Feeds if they've engaged with harmful COVID-19 misinformation that the company has since removed. Some of the harmful misinformation Facebook has pulled down includes claims that drinking bleach can cure the coronavirus. 

Zuckerberg also said fact-checkers are adding warning labels to posts with misinformation and that so far it's working. He said that 95% of the people who saw the label didn't go on to view the original content.

"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.

UCSF and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, 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 also 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.

Watch this: Here's how contact tracing could stop COVID-19