Facebook will soon take action against disinformation about vaccines, according to a Facebook representative.
Public health experts have pointed to the fingers of social media platforms, stating that false allegations that autism and other illness vaccines have frightened parents to refuse to vaccinate, which has led to the current outbreak of measles that began in Washington .
A Facebook representative who asked not to be named said the social media giant has been working with health experts to decide what changes to make and consider a combination of approaches to addressing disinformation of vaccines. These approaches will not get disinformation from Facebook, but will make it less pronounced.
For example, groups that promote disinformation about vaccines will not appear in the list of groups that Facebook recommends users join. Also, Facebook will ensure jobs containing misinformation about vaccines appear down the consumer's news.
Experts on Public Health and Technology welcomed the planned changes. "That's good news," says Art Kaplan, head of Medical Ethics at the Medical University of New York. – These are steps, but they move in the right direction.
Darrell West, director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Nongovernmental Institute, agreed. "Facebook is on the side of science," he said. – They act in accordance with scientific consensus.
Facebook also plans to make changes to its advertising policy, according to the representative. CNN search on Facebook's archived website found that several groups that promote false information about vaccines advertise on the site.
Another change will include misinformation about vaccines when people search for certain terms. This can lead to major changes. According to the latest CNN research on Facebook, anti-vaccination groups are now high on the list of results when looking for the word "vaccine".
Facebook is under considerable pressure to do something about the anti-vaccine information on its site; Other social media platforms have been found to have difficulty finding such content years ago. For example, YouTube does not allow ads to show on videos that promote anti-vaccine content, which means that these groups can not make money through an ad.
Pinterest has the most restrictive rules on vaccine information; Users can not connect to certain sites that have misinformation, among other limitations.
"We are a place of inspiration and there is nothing inspirational about harmful content," said Ifeoma Ozoma, Pinterest's policy and social affairs manager.
Kaplan said that while he welcomed the changes to Facebook, he wanted the platform not to stop there. "We may have to go even further in terms of pulling up fake and erroneous sites completely," he said.
However, the first correctional rights advocate said he believed Facebook had reached the right balance. "They avoid censorship, but they do not necessarily recommend it to their readers, and this is probably the best way to go about that, "said Lata Nott, executive director of the First Center for Changes to the Freedom Institute in the forum.