Facebook Plans to Combat Anti-Vaccine Messages on Social Network

Krystal Glass of Vancouver Washington holds up an anti-SB 5841 sign during the

An 'anti-vaxxer' takes part in a march against mandatory vaccination in Olympia Washington USA Credit Lindsey Wasson Reuters

Facebook also says it will start rejecting ads that include vaccine misinformation and disable ad accounts that violate its policies.

The firm has taken steps to reduce the visibility of people who spread misinformation vaccines and will help highlight authoritative and factual information on the topic.

Ms Bickert said groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccines would no longer be included... The efforts will also extend to Instagram, where the company will stop displaying anti-vaccine content on its Explore and hashtag pages. Facebook is doing its part to limit the reach of misinformation promoting the movement by reducing rankings of groups and Pages that share such misinformation.

Bickert said the company is also "exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines", possibly by adding educational information to inaccurate posts.

While local doctors anecdotally report a surge of people getting MMR boosters or vaccinations as a result, there's also been a backlash from vaccine sceptics on social media, as CTV reported last month.

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 https://medium.com/dfrlab/exclusive-facebook-takes-down-fake-network-in-the-united-kingdom-58350e0f3401 by Digital Forensic Research (DFR) Lab.

Facebook has announced steps to counteract the spread of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories on its network. In February, YouTube said it would remove ads from videos that feature anti-vaccination content.

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. For instance, Facebook made no mention of deleting pages or groups that carry the anti-vaccination content. However, the spokeswoman said, the users who already belong to the groups or pages will be able to log onto them as usual.

Facebook will now de-prioritize medical myths across the platform, taking action against verifiable vaccine hoaxes, the company said.

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