How Facebook is combatting vaccine misinformation - VP

Modesto Morganelli
Marzo 11, 2019

Facebook should ban posts by so-called anti-vaxxers in order to protect children against measles and other contagious diseases, says a British Columbia mother who launched a petition urging parents to start home schooling if they're against immunization.

Separately on Friday, Facebook Inc, which along with other social media companies has faced growing pressure over spurious content spread on its platform, announced it would remove user groups and pages that contained misinformation about vaccinations. The company also said that it will be downranking results which are related to anti-vaccination. The explore feature showcases individualized content based off the accounts and hashtags the user follows, while hashtag pages allow users to search and view content on the app that pertains to specific topics.

Facebook is also "exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines", possibly by adding such information to inaccurate posts, Bickert said.

"These groups and Pages will not be included in recommendations or in predictions when you type into Search", Facebook said. WHO in February listed "vaccine hesitancy" among its top 10 most pressing global health threats for 2019 and the United Nations last week warned against "complacency" as measles cases soared worldwide.

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.

"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.

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.

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. Pages and Groups sharing these hoaxes, the platform says, will be penalized in the News Feed.

In February, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sent letters to the heads of Facebook and Google, which also has been under fire for YouTube's role in promoting misinformation, asking how they plan to protect their users from potentially unsafe hoaxes.

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

"And where do you get most of your information?" the lawmaker asked.

Facebook said it would not ban anti-vaccination content.

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