Facebook announces anti-vaxx crackdown


Facebook has a problem with more than just fake news. Add incorrect information about vaccines on the social network to the list.

Revealed Thursday: The social network says it will reduce distribution and provide users with "authoritative information" on the subject. Facebook follows the example of Pinterest, which has blocked all searches using terms related to vaccines or vaccinations as part of a plan to prevent the spread of misinformation related to anti publications -vaxx.

In mid-February, Facebook told USA TODAY that it had "taken steps" to reduce the number of false health information and anti-vaxx messages and that it was considering making it less visible the anti-vaccination content of his site, during a measles outbreak that revived the conversation on preventive strokes.

At the time, Facebook said, "We know we still have a lot to do."

Facebook fights against misinformation on its platform since the 2016 presidential election, after the discovery of fake accounts and the discovery of news aimed at sowing discord among users.

Social media sites have wondered how to handle users' anti-vaxx publications in the context of a measles outbreak in the state of Washington, affecting more than 60 people.

Facebook has announced a series of new steps:

– This will reduce the ranking of Facebook groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccines in News Feed and Search. "These groups and pages will not be included in the recommendations or forecasts when you enter words in Search," said Facebook.

"When he discovers advertisements containing incorrect information about vaccines," we will reject them ".

-Facebook said it has removed related targeting options, such as "vaccine controversies" in ads. "For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take other actions, such as disabling the ad account."

In addition, Facebook has stated that it will not display or recommend any content containing incorrect information about vaccinations in the Instagram section of Instagram, owned by Facebook, or on its hashtag pages.

More: A teenager who has been vaccinated says her anti-vaxx mother receives wrong information from Facebook

More: Facebook could hide anti-vaxx publications after being accused of spreading false health information

More: Extensive study adds to evidence that measles vaccine does not cause autism

Facebook noted that 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 hoaxes of vaccines appear on Facebook, we will act against them," said Facebook.

"We are also convinced that it is important to provide people with additional context allowing them to decide whether they should read, share or engage in conversations about information that they see on Facebook," he said. said the company. "We are exploring ways to give people more accurate information about Vaccines from specialist organizations, top of the results of related research, pages dealing with the topic and invitations to join groups on the subject. We'll have an update on that soon. "

Follow Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, on Twitter, @jeffersongraham