Facebook to combat anti-vaccination content, vaccine misinformation on its platform

Henrietta Brewer
March 11, 2019

Monika Bickert, Facebook's vice president for global policy management, said the social media network would reduce the distribution of false data and provide users with authoritative information about vaccinations.

After Facebook's Thursday announcement, Schiff struck a cautious note on Twitter, writing, "The ultimate test will be if these measures reduce the spread of anti-vaccine content on their platforms, to the benefit of public health".

Facebook also said it would be "exploring" ways to counter false content, whenever users do come across it, with "educational information" about vaccines.

Facebook said that it would rely on vetting from leading global health organizations that "have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes".

There has been a widespread measles outbreak in the United States and elsewhere, especially with measles vaccination having being linked to causing autism, which of course has been disproved with numerous studies demonstrating the falsity of this belief.

Apart from that Facebook-owned Instagram will also have all ads which pertain to anti-vaccination downranked or removed.

The Page's ranking will be reduced in both the news feed and search, which means the posts will appear further down in the feed. The company also said that it will be downranking results which are related to anti-vaccination.

The World Health Organization recently dubbed "vaccine hesitancy" one of the top global threats of 2019, a warning punctuated by one of the worst measles outbreaks in decades, which has sickened at least 75 people across the Pacific Northwest - most of whom are unvaccinated children under 10 years old.

Admitting that people want private, encrypted services, Zuckerberg said Facebook would become like the mobile messaging platform which is more secure with end-to-end encryption. There are a number of anti-vaccine groups that focus on lobbying against mandatory vaccination.

Some accounts will be disabled if they're found to be continuously violating policy by sharing inaccurate information that could jeopardize the health of the public.

The push from Facebook also arrives right after multiple research papers published across journals and shared on social media platforms, discouraged polio vaccination.

YouTube and Pinterest have also taken steps to tackle the spread of anti-vaccine information.

Other reports by iNewsToday