Facebook starts crack down on vaccine misinformation and anti-vaxxers
The social networking site will be cracking down on anti-vaxxers as well as anti-vaxxing groups that spread misinformation online.
In the wake of numerous measles outbreaks happening throughout the world, Facebook as well as other social networking sites are trying to fight vaccine misinformation. This is because a lot of people believe that anti-vaxxers might have played a big role in these recent outbreaks.
With more and more anti-vaxxing advocates being vocal on social media, misinformation is a legitimate problem. It's widely believed that this contributed directly to recent outbreaks in various countries. This is why social networking sites, particularly Facebook, is trying to lessen the visibility of these types of users.
Anti-vaxxers might soon have their days numbered in social media
According to a representative on Facebook, they will be working with health workers to tackle the problem of anti-vaxxing. They're not planning on removing the content entirely, but to make it less visible and accessible to users.
Under the proposed changes, groups that promote anti-vaxxing wouldn't show up in Facebook's recommended groups. Additionally, posts that contain misinformation would appear lower in a person's newsfeed.
Art Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics at the New York University School of Medicine shares, "This is good news, they're incremental steps, but they're heading in the right direction."
Darrell West, director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the nonprofit Brookings Institute adds, "Facebook is on the side of science," he said. "They're acting in accordance with the scientific consensus."
Facebook will also be changing their advertising policy. Because it has come to their attention that some ads on the site contain vaccine misinformation.
Other sites are following suit
Facebook isn't the only website that has been under scrutiny for vaccine misinformation. YouTube has previously enacted changes that don't allow ads to appear on anti-vaxx content. Pinterest will also render users unable to link to sites that have questionable information.
Ifeoma Ozoma, Pinterest's policy and social impact manager says, "We're a place to go to for inspiration, and there's nothing inspiring about harmful content."
Hopefully, Facebook won't stop with these simple changes. It might be a better idea to completely take down false information about vaccines in order to directly combat misinformation.
Vaccines are very important to your child's health
We at theAsianParent Philippines believe that it is every parent's right to protect and take care of their children as they see fit. However, when it comes to discussions about vaccines, it's important for parents to know the facts and myths about what's safe and what's not.
Here's what parents need to know: