Published: Mon, March 11, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Facebook to reject advertisements that provide ‘vaccine misinformation’

Facebook to reject advertisements that provide ‘vaccine misinformation’

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.

The company will instead provide users with "authoritative information" on the topic of vaccinations. It will also bar vaccine misinformation from Instagram, which Facebook owns.

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

The decision follows a Tuesday Senate hearing on how to stop the outbreak of preventable diseases in which an 18-year-old testified that he was immunized against the wishes of his mother, who he said had developed anti-vaccine beliefs through her involvement with various Facebook groups.

To mitigate the reach of false information on its platform, Facebook said it is partnering with prominent global health organizations, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create factually accurate content. "If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them".

When it discovers ads with misinformation about vaccinations, "we will reject them".

Facebook will reduce their exposure by rejecting paid ads, rejecting incorrect information about vaccines on Instagram, and sharing educational information about vaccines. WHO in February listed "vaccine hesitancy" among its top 10 most pressing global health threats for 2019 and the United Nations last week warned against "complacency" as measles cases soared worldwide. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

"The parental refusals due to misconceptions regarding the vaccine are emerging as the major obstacle in achieving complete eradication", Khan's office said in a letter to the head of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, referring to parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

"For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action, such as disabling the ad account".

The social media platform's AI system will hunt for specific contradictory claims about vaccines through posts and media and dilute the culpable groups and pages, although members belonging to those groups will continue to view such posts.

YouTube and Pinterest have also taken steps to tackle the spread of anti-vaccine information.

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