Facebook has been flooded with phone calls from health experts, and all of them have advised the social media powerhouse that it needs to halt the misinformation that anti-vaccination groups provide them. Facebook announced on Thursday, March 7th, that it is reducing the visibility of inaccurate vaccine posts and rejecting ads that include poor information.
Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, stated that Facebook is currently working hard to tackle the issue concerning vaccine medication, and it’s trying to reduce both the distribution of misinformed posts and those who have authoritative information on the topic.
Throughout recent years, the groups have been trying to use Facebook as a social media platform to promote anti-vaccine agents as well as spread uncensored messages. Other social media platforms that the groups have used to send their misleading messages to are YouTube, Twitter, and other sites. Public health experts believe that the posts have frightened parents into not having their children vaccinated.
The anti-vaccination groups seem to post false and alarming content that ranges from vaccinations can cause autism (this idea was proved wrong years ago), and that a child infected by measles can protect that child from cancer and heart disease in their adult years.
The World Health Organization has listed the refusal to vaccinate as one of the top 10 threats to global health. Health authorities have made it clear that vaccine refusal is a significant contributor to the current outbreak of measles in both the US and Canada. Health authorities have also said that the outbreak of measles is particularly disturbing, and the disease was declared eliminated in both Canada and the US in 1998.
Monika Bickert’s blog post said that Facebook is reducing the ranking of all groups and pages that are using the news feed and search option to spread misinformed information about vaccines. Additionally, these posts won’t pop up in the “recommendations” portion of the platform.
The measures that Facebook is taking also isolates any advertisers that attempt to promote paid anti-vaccination content with the hopes that its members can be informed of the current, world-health certified, information on vaccines.