Polio Programme seeks removal of anti-vaccine social media content

News Facebook steps up fight against vaccine misinformation Associated Press 2:10 PM, Mar 08, 2019

The social media platform also removed related targeting options, which help direct ads to audiences based on factors including age, hobbies and probable interests.

Social media giant Facebook says it is hiding groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations from the search function of its site.

Facebook said that it would rely on vetting from leading global health organizations that "have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes".

Similarly, it has been learnt that Facebook has also started working with global health experts to take actions against anti vaccine lobby, it said.

If groups and pages spread those hoaxes, they won't appear in recommendations or in predictions functions when searched for in Facebook.

Facebook has removed 137 fake pages, groups and Instagram accounts in the United Kingdom and 31 in Romania for engaging in hate speech and making divisive comments.

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.

In addition, ads that include misinformation about vaccinations will be rejected.

Facebook also said here it would crack down on misinformation about vaccines, by reducing its distribution and providing users with more authoritative information on the topic. While Facebook has not said exactly what this could look like, the platform now suggests related articles from sources like Snopes on articles that have been proven false.

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.

"While we work hard to remove content that violates our policies, we also give our community tools to control what they see as well as use Facebook to speak up and share perspectives with the community around them", the company's statement read.

In February, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sent letters to the heads of Facebook and Google, which also has been under fire for YouTube's role in promoting misinformation, asking how they plan to protect their users from potentially risky hoaxes.

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