Facebook fights vaccine hoaxes

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

Facebook to combat vaccine misinformation

However, Facebook, will not be taking down the ads entirely said Monika Bickert, Facebook's vice president of global policy management in a blog post.

Revealed this Thursday, the social network says it will reduce distribution and provide users with "authoritative information" on the subject.

Anti-vaccine views, which have been prevalent for quite some time, are spread by people who believe that either vaccine doesn't work or that they are risky to health, and are vehemently opposed to vaccination and will not tolerate any form of criticism against anti-vaccination.

We also removed related targeting options, like 'vaccine controversies'.

The changes also apply to Instagram.

The decision follows a measles outbreak in Washington which prompted health officials to declare a state of emergency after the highest number of infections in over 20 years were reported.

The change comes less than a month after US Congressman Adam Schiff sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressing concern that Instagram and Facebook were "surfacing and recommending messages that discourage parents from vaccinating their children".

"A team at Facebook will use guidelines based on the most widely debunked vaccine hoaxes published by health experts", it said.

Facebook should ban posts by so-called anti-vaxxers in order to protect children against measles and other contagious diseases, says a British Columbia mother who launched a petition urging parents to start home schooling if they're against immunization.

In addition, ads that include misinformation about vaccinations will be rejected. The World Health Organization recently dubbed "vaccine hesitancy" one of the top global threats of 2019. But despite ample available data some groups continue to lobby against mandatory vaccination, gaining significant traction on social media sites.

There have been increased scrutiny of the role that social media platforms play in amplifying and financing the anti-vaccine movement.

Some accounts will be disabled if they're found to be continuously violating policy by sharing inaccurate information that could jeopardize the health of the public.

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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