Facebook takes action against spread of vaccine misinformation on its platform

Mar 8, 2019, 1:17 pm

Bhaswati S.

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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 dangerous to health, and are vehemently opposed to vaccination and will not tolerate any form of criticism against anti-vaccination.

Dr. David H. Gorski, a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, describes anti-vaccination as “another denialist movement” which is powered by ideology rather than reason and science.

Finding an effective means to counter its message will likely require developing effective general strategies to counter science denialist movements of all types. – Dr. David H. Gorski

The World Health Organization (WHO) has even identified “vaccine hesitancy,” that is the decision to avoid vaccination, as one of the most potent threats to global health.

Facebook had taken a decision to “tackle vaccine misinformation” by reducing the distribution of such materials and providing people dependable information on vaccination.

A Facebook post dated March 7, 2019, by the VP of Facebook’s Global Policy Management, states the measures that Facebook would take to counter vehement anti-vaccination directions.

Facebook reportedly would take steps to lower the rankings of anti-vaccine groups and Pages so that they appear less in recommendations, predictions, in News Feed and Search, and even in Instagram Explore or hashtag pages.

They would take action against vaccine hoaxes found on Facebook, especially when vaccine hoaxes have been veritably identified by significant global health organizations like the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Along with expelling anti-vaccine related targeting options such as “vaccine controversies,” Facebook would also reject advertisements that propagate false info on vaccinations, and even step up to disable the violating accounts.

The social media platform’s AI system will hunt for specific contradictory claims about vaccines through posts and media and dilute the culpable groups and pages, although members belonging to those groups will continue to view such posts.

Facebook would, moreover, attempt to share educational and authentic information about vaccines.

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.

Previously, Pinterest and YouTube have also attempted to reduce the reach of anti-vaccine content.

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