Facebook will reduce the ranking of groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search; and they will not be included in recommendations or in predictions when users type into Search.
And content that contains the misinformation won't be shown on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages. The decision comes after health experts urged the social network to take action against anti-vaccine groups spreading misinformation with no method to counteract its dissemination. Ad accounts that continue to violate company policies may even be disabled.
Facebook's crackdown on anti-vaxxers won't just punish groups that spread the information, it will also make them harder to find.
Bickert said the company is also "exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines", possibly by adding educational information to inaccurate posts.
Last month, The Daily Beast found almost 150 anti-vaccine advertising spots on Facebook that specifically target women over the age of 25, which is the demographic most likely to have children needing vaccinations.
Two days after an 18-year-old testified to Congress that his mother denied him vaccinations based off information she learned on social media, Facebook finally said it will limit anti-vax content on its platform. In February, YouTube said it would remove ads from videos that feature anti-vaccination content.
One group of scientists recently published a study that found the majority of the most-viewed health stories on Facebook in 2018 were downright fake or contained significant amounts of misleading information.
It's also notable that Facebook is now embroiled in a public relations nightmare, with mounting criticism about its privacy protection for users as well as a perceived lack of action against alleged hate groups and Russian propaganda campaigns. While some of them are already live, some remain in testing phases.
Facebook will now de-prioritize medical myths across the platform, taking action against verifiable vaccine hoaxes, the company said.