Here's how Facebook plans to take action against anti-vaccine content

Here's how Facebook plans to take action against anti-vaccine content

Here's how Facebook plans to take action against anti-vaccine content

Ads with false information will be rejected and anti-vaccine content banned from hashtag pages and Instagram Explore.

On Thursday, Facebook announced that in a bid to "tackle vaccine misinformation", it will not allow anti-vaccination content to be promoted through sponsored ads or recommendations, while also limiting its appearances in its search function.

The social media platform also said it will remove campaigns characterised as hoaxes by authoritative organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There, 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger testified that his mother, an anti-vaccine evangelist, relies on Facebook or Facebook-linked sites for all of her information on the subject. Earlier this week, a teenager from OH who had to inoculate himself testified before the Senate that his anti-vax mother received her information on vaccines exclusively through Facebook.

"I grew up understanding my mother's beliefs that vaccines are risky, and she would speak openly about these views", he said at the hearing.

Facebook is no stranger to criticism.

The effort is company-wide and will be unrolled in the next few weeks.

The social media network has also been scrutinized for its handling of the 2016 election. Prior to taking office, US President Donald Trump promoted this claim. However, most survey participants (74%) reported not knowing that a list of their traits and interests existed within the company's data.

Facebook's crackdown on anti-vaxxers won't just punish groups that spread the information, it will also make them harder to find.

The congressman cited a Guardian report that said suggested searches on Facebook and YouTube often lead users to pages that show medically false information.

Some of the most popular pages that were taken down defended the role of migrants and Muslims in Britain, and highlighted hostile content related to Tommy Robinson, the former leader of far-right extremist group English Defense League, according to a blog by Digital Forensic Research (DFR) Lab.

"We are exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic", she adds. We've also removed related targeting options, like "vaccine controversies".

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