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Facebook Announces New Steps to Limit the Spread of Vaccine Misinformation

10 March 2019
Facebook Announces New Steps to Limit the Spread of Vaccine Misinformation

The company has made a decision to take action against accounts which are promoting vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by the World Health Organisation and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, US.

As of now, Facebook plans to give users authoritative information on the controversial topic as stated by Monika Bickert, vice president of Facebook's global policy management in a statement on Thursday.

"If a group or page admin posts this vaccine misinformation, we will exclude the entire group or page from recommendations", she said, adding that the Facebook team will also "reduce these groups' and pages' distribution in news feed and search, and reject ads with this misinformation". "As of publication, the timeline for the censorship of vaccine misinformation is still unclear: "as Wired states, a search of "#vaccine" on Instagram's hashtag page displays "#vaccineskill" and "vaccinescauseautism" among the top results.

When we find ads that include misinformation about vaccinations, we will reject them.

Facebook becomes the next company to take a stand against the anti-vaccine movement with their announcement of new policies against the spread of false information about vaccines.

Facebook is moving to halt the spread of misinformation in the form of vaccine hoaxes.

The company no longer allows targeting based on users' interest in "vaccine controversies" and will share educational materials with users that come across such misinformation. "It strikes a balance between expression and amplification". Anti-vaccination groups have thrived in Facebook groups where the platform's recommendation engine can promote other fringe ideas to follow. While some of them are already live, some remain in testing phases.

Facebook-owned Instagram is also receiving some changes over the coming weeks.

"As Americans rely on your services as their primary source of information, it is vital that you take responsibility with the seriousness it requires, and nowhere more so than in matters of public health and children's health", Schiff wrote to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

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.

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