Facebook to crackdown on anti-vaccine misinformation

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

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

Facebook reportedly won't remove all anti-vaccination content, however.

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. As well as predictions as you type in the Search bar.

The company is also going to reject ads that include misinformation, and it will completely disable an ad account if they continue to advertise further misinformation.

Facebook's crackdown on anti-vaxxers won't just punish groups that spread the information, it will also make them harder to find. The company will also stop recommending anti-vaccination content on Instagram.

Ms Bickert said the social network was also looking into ways of providing more information on the topic to users of Facebook.

It's important to note that Facebook isn't hiding or deleting individual anti-vaccination posts; it is only targeting groups, Pages, and ads.

Last month, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, sent a letter to Facebook and Google, asking them to address the problem because their inaction may have contributed to recent outbreaks of measles in the country.

Others believe Facebook is striking the right balance.

Facebook took several steps previous year to combat the issue of "fake news" in India and other countries.

The company has come under fire for the slew of anti-vax groups and pages on the website spreading myths, such as vaccines causing autism and conspiracy theories about mandatory vaccinations. And in order to give users the right information, the company is "exploring ways to give people more accurate information from expert organizations about vaccines at the top of results for related searches, on Pages discussing the topic, and on invitations to join groups about the topic", says Bickert.

Lindenberger said Tuesday that his anti-vaccine mother gets most of her information from Facebook, while he learned about vaccines from the CDC, WHO and scientific journals.

Last week the head of NHS England warned "vaccination deniers" were gaining traction on social media as part of a "fake news" movement.

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