Facebook takes action against spread of vaccine misinformation on its platform

Alicia Farmer
March 11, 2019

In a blog post, Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy management, said the company is "working to tackle vaccine misinformation on Facebook by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic".

Facebook is taking similar measures for Instagram on which it will stop showing or recommending content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages.

Facebook will reduce their exposure by rejecting paid ads, rejecting incorrect information about vaccines on Instagram, and sharing educational information about vaccines.

This year the World Health Organization added vaccine hesitancy to its list of top global threats.

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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.

"I'm happy to see @Facebook's thoughtful application of remove/reduce/inform to health misinformation", she said.

If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, the company said, it will take action against them.

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"We have long believed that simply removing provocative thinking such as this does little to build awareness around facts and different approaches to health", it said in a statement.

The letter mentioned that above 100,000 children in every round were missed during polio vaccination because of false propaganda regarding the vaccine.

"For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action, such as disabling the ad account".

Last month, Facebook removed hundreds of Indonesian accounts, pages and groups from its network after discovering they were linked to an online group accused of spreading hate speech and fake news.

Anti-vaccine views, which have been prevalent for quite some time, are spread by people who believe that either vaccine doesn't work or that they are unsafe to health, and are vehemently opposed to vaccination and will not tolerate any form of criticism against anti-vaccination.

Lindenberger, who famously vaccinated himself against his mother's wishes, spoke to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday and reiterated Schiff's calls for reliable information - not the type of stuff his mother was reading on social media.

"Yes", Lindenberger replied. "Mainly Facebook".

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