Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Facebook to reject advertisements that provide 'vaccine misinformation'

News Facebook steps up fight against vaccine misinformation Associated Press 2:10 PM, Mar 08, 2019 Facebook to combat vaccine misinformation
Celia Hoffman | 11 March, 2019, 11:17

Targeting options like "vaccine controversies" have also been removed from the platform, which means advertisers can no longer specifically target users that have shown interest in vaccine controversies.

Facebook said Thursday it will take its cue from global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes.

As outlined, the global kneecapping of anti-vaxxers on Facebook will take a few forms: downgrading the ranking of pages and groups from search and on News Feed, rejecting ads that contain misinformation about vaccines, and 86ing these sorts of conspiracies from recommendations, Explore pages, and hashtag pages within Instagram, which Facebook, of course, owns. The company also said that it will be downranking results which are related to anti-vaccination. The company will also stop recommending anti-vaccination content on Instagram. If ad accounts continue to spread misinformation, Facebook said it will disable the account.

Bickert said: "For example, 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".

More news: Baby of teen who left United Kingdom to join ISIS dies

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

The World Health Organization recently dubbed "vaccine hesitancy" one of the top global threats of 2019, a warning punctuated by one of the worst measles outbreaks in decades, which has sickened at least 75 people across the Pacific Northwest - most of whom are unvaccinated children under 10 years old. But despite ample available data some groups continue to lobby against mandatory vaccination, gaining significant traction on social media sites. More than 70 cases have been confirmed since January - 66 "were found in people 18 and younger and the vast majority were not immunized", The Seattle Times reported.

"It ran pages and groups whose names frequently changed in order to drum up more followers and operated fake accounts to engage in hate speech and spread divisive comments on both sides of United Kingdom political debate", Facebook was quoted as saying by The Guardian late on Thursday.

Previously, Pinterest and YouTube have also attempted to reduce the reach of anti-vaccine content.

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