Facebook says it is working to tackle vaccine misinformation by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic.
According to its Vice President, Global Policy Management, Monika Bickert, Facebook is doing this by taking a series of steps, including reducing the ranking of groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in its News Feed and Search.
These groups and Pages will not be included in recommendations or predictions when you type into Search.
In addition, ads that include misinformation about vaccinations will be rejected.
Bickert said: “We also removed related targeting options, like ‘vaccine controversies.’
“For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action such as disabling the ad account.
“We won’t show or recommend content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages.
“We are exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic.”
Leading global health organizations such as the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes.
If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, the company said, it will take action against them.
Bickert said: “For example, if a group or Page admin posts this vaccine misinformation, we will exclude the entire group or Page from recommendations, reduce these groups and Pages’ distribution in News Feed and Search, and reject ads with this misinformation.
“We also believe in providing people with additional context so they can decide whether to read, share, or engage in conversations about information they see on Facebook.
“We are exploring ways to give people more accurate information from expert organizations about vaccines at the top of results for related searches, on Pages discussing the topic, and on invitations to join groups about the topic.
“We will have an update on this soon.”
Bickert also added that Facebook is fully committed to the safety of “our community and will continue to expand on this work”.