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The largest social media company in the world has just announced plans to combat the spread of misinformation about vaccinations across its platform.
On Thursday the Vice President of Global Policy Management at Facebook, Monika Bickert, issued a statement announcing several ways in which the social networking site would curtail the distribution of false information about immunization.
To do so, the company will start by taking the following steps:
- Reducing the ranking of groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search – they will no longer be included in recommendations or predictions when you type into Search.
- Rejecting ads that include misinformation about vaccinations and removing related targeting options, like “vaccine controversies.” Ad accounts that continue to violate these policies may be disabled.
- Hiding content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages.
- Exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic.
- Anti-vaxxers are officially one of the world’s biggest health threats (REPORT)
- Whooping cough case confirmed at Mount Doug Secondary School
- Vaccination rates for measles have dropped by 12% in six years on Vancouver Island
“Leading global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes,” reads Bickert’s statement. “If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them.”
One example of these penalties is that if a group or Page admin posts vaccine misinformation, the entire page/group will be excluded from recommendations and their distribution in people’s news feeds and searches will be reduced.
The statement also promises a future update from Facebook, as the company explores ways to bring more accurate information about vaccines from expert organizations to the top of results for related searches, on Pages discussing the topic, and on invitations to join groups about the topic.