Health Care

Facebook, Instagram hiding pages that spread 'vaccine misinformation'

Facebook, Instagram hiding pages that spread 'vaccine misinformation'”

March 7 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc said it would crack down on misinformation about vaccines, by reducing its distribution and providing users with more authoritative information on the topic.

In a blog post by Monika Bickert, Facebook's vice president of global policy management, said that the company will begin rejecting ads that include misinformation about vaccines. "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. If ad accounts continue to spread misinformation, Facebook said it will disable the account.

Last month, The Daily Beast found almost 150 anti-vaccine advertising spots on Facebook that specifically target women over the age of 25, which is the demographic most likely to have children needing vaccinations.

Facebook, the world's largest social media site, will soon take aim against anti-vaxers.

"If a group or Page admin posts this vaccine misinformation, we will exclude the entire group or Page from recommendations, reduce these groups and Pages' distribution in News Feed and Search, and reject ads with this misinformation".

After criticisms that it was allowing anti-vaccination misinformation to flourish and circulate on the platform, Facebook has announced it is taking steps to bury content from anti-vaxxers.

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

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Facebook.

On Tuesday, teenager Ethan Lindenberger told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that his mother refused to give him vaccinations based on information she read on Facebook. In the past couple months, several bad news cycles have pressured the company to reconsider its marketplace-of-ideas approach to the topic: in February, the Guardian reported that anti-vax sources frequently outperform medically accurate information on Facebook.

The decision to take action comes just after days after the publication of another comprehensive study which showed the efficacy and safety of vaccines and confirmed they are a vital component of public health.

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