In yet another dystopian milestone, Facebook has been flagging a bunch of legitimate news articles – many of which covered the coronavirus pandemic – as fake news due to a massive glitch in its automated moderation system.

On Tuesday, the platform’s content-filtering software lost its shit and treated heaps of shared links as spam or abusive content, hiding them from other users.

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, said that removed posts had now been restored.

“We’ve restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics – not just those related to COVID-19,” he said on Twitter.

“This was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too.”

The incident comes after Facebook sent all of its contracted moderation team home over coronavirus concerns.

Their work can’t be done from home owing to privacy issues and sensitive material, which has put a greater emphasis on automated moderation in recent days. However, the company denies that the glitch was because of a lack of human moderation.

While Facebook now claims that the bug is under control, some users are still complaining that they simply cannot post certain links.

Aside from news articles, users also complained of other links being flagged by the software, including links to fundraisers, petitions, scholarly articles and online stores.

Against the backdrop of a global coronavirus pandemic, people were pissed they could not share information and receive news updates.

The glitch affected links posted from the BBC, Business Insider, BuzzFeed News, Medium, USA Today, The Independent, NBC, The AtlanticThe Irish Times, and many more.

In Australia, 7 News social media editor Gianni Borrelli said that the many users were still prohibited from sharing links to legitimate 7 News articles.

“Facebook is still threatening to delete the accounts of those sharing stories – important stories pertaining to coronavirus spread and advice from our government and health officials,” he tweeted.

There has been plenty of coronavirus-related fake news as of late, and much of it has been shared on Facebook in Australia. But even though content filtering can be useful in these circumstances, this time it simply prevented the dissemination of important information during a pandemic.

Image: Getty Images / Budrul Chukrut