Facebook-Vaccine Misinformation story - 3/9/2019 4:56:05 PM

Grant Boone
March 11, 2019

According to Facebook's announcement, ads that contain false facts about vaccines will be rejected and removed.

"We are fully committed to the safety of our community and will continue to work in this field", said Monica Bickert, vice president of global policy on Facebook.

Facebook, the very open platform that would like to be the opposite of that in the near future, announced a big change this week: It will no longer be a dumping grounds for the anti-vaccination conspiracies of a few misinformed clowns.

NEW YORK (AP) - Social media giant Facebook says it is hiding groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations from the search function of its site.

Facebook said that it would rely on vetting from leading global health organizations that "have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes". Facebook is also exploring options to share educational and informational content on vaccines.

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The decision follows a Tuesday Senate hearing on how to stop the outbreak of preventable diseases in which an 18-year-old testified that he was immunized against the wishes of his mother, who he said had developed anti-vaccine beliefs through her involvement with various Facebook groups. "If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them".

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. The company also said that it will be downranking results which are related to anti-vaccination. 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.

Federal health officials have attributed a recent spike in the number of measles cases in part to misinformation that has made some parents shun the vaccine.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director at the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said it's "those that are unvaccinated that put us all at risk".

There have been increased scrutiny of the role that social media platforms play in amplifying and financing the anti-vaccine movement. YouTube and Pinterest are also now taking steps to tackle the spread of vaccine misinformation.

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