Published: Mon, March 11, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Facebook plans to pull anti-vaccine groups and pages to combat misinformation

Facebook plans to pull anti-vaccine groups and pages to combat misinformation

It will also remove anti-vaccination ad targeting descriptors such as "vaccine controversies".

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

After Facebook's Thursday announcement, Schiff struck a cautious note on Twitter, writing, "The ultimate test will be if these measures reduce the spread of anti-vaccine content on their platforms, to the benefit of public health".

In a statement, Monika Bickert, vice president of global policy management, said, "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".

To mitigate the reach of false information on its platform, Facebook said it is partnering with prominent global health organizations, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create factually accurate content.

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The Page's ranking will be reduced in both the news feed and search, which means the posts will appear further down in the feed. It will also bar vaccine misinformation from Instagram, which Facebook owns.

There has been a widespread measles outbreak in the United States and elsewhere, especially with measles vaccination having being linked to causing autism, which of course has been disproved with numerous studies demonstrating the falsity of this belief.

In addition, ads that include misinformation about vaccinations will be rejected. Last month, online video sharing site YouTube, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, said it would take action to stop advertising revenue to channels promoting anti-vaccination content. The World Health Organization recently dubbed "vaccine hesitancy" one of the top global threats of 2019.

The letter mentioned that above 100,000 children in every round were missed during polio vaccination because of false propaganda regarding the vaccine. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

The questions people have around vaccinations is a "direct result of the negative content you have on social media", he said, adding the issue is made more hard to control because such content is often in local languages not spoken by outsiders.

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