The blog also said that ads carrying vaccine misinformation would be rejected and that Facebook was "exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic".
"We will reduce the ranking of groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in news feed and search", Bickert said in a statement. The social network is also going to stop people from targeting things like "vaccine controversies" on its network. More specifically, if those ad account owners will continue to spread misinformation, Facebook warns it will disable the account.
We won't show or recommend content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages. Diseases long thought extinct have been reintroduced to fatal effect thanks to these merchants of disease. Moreover, they won't be included in recommendations or predictions when typing in the search bar. Thursday's announcement from Facebook is an acknowledgement from the company that it's doing something about the anti-vaccination content on its ecosystem.
-This is not only Facebook but Instagram as well.
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"Leading global health organisations, such as the World Health Organisation and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes".
DFR, a small online forensics team of Washington-based Atlantic Council thinktank, has been working with Facebook to enhance the social network's investigations of foreign interference. In the past couple months, several bad news cycles have pressured the company to reconsider its marketplace-of-ideas approach to the topic: in February, the Guardian reported that anti-vax sources frequently outperform medically accurate information on Facebook. However, the spokeswoman said, the users who already belong to the groups or pages will be able to log onto them as usual. And last week, a teenager told Congress that he had been immunized against the wishes of his mother, who had received a lot of her anti-vaccine information from Facebook.
In January, a study by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) warned social media was a "breeding ground for misleading information and negative messaging around vaccination" and more action needed to be taken to challenge claims made against vaccines.