- Milo Yiannopoulos receives lifetime ban from furry convention Monday 7:49 PM
- Snapchat just made all political ads purchased publicly available Monday 6:12 PM
- How to stream Barcelona vs. Borussia Dortmund in Champions League action Monday 5:39 PM
- How to stream Liverpool vs. Napoli in Champions League action Monday 5:19 PM
- How to make real money with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Monday 5:03 PM
- How to stream Chelsea vs. Valencia in the Champions League group stage Monday 4:47 PM
- ‘SNL’ fires Shane Gillis for racist, homophobic comments Monday 4:41 PM
- Ben Shapiro wants accusers to describe Brett Kavanaugh’s penis Monday 4:30 PM
- Twitch suspends streamer for wearing Chun-Li cosplay Monday 4:11 PM
- Report: 8 years of Trump tax returns subpoenaed by prosecutors Monday 3:45 PM
- Netflix lands exclusive streaming rights to ‘Seinfeld’ Monday 3:34 PM
- Jenny Slate sets first comedy special at Netflix Monday 3:05 PM
- #EndSmearFear is aiming to save lives Monday 2:54 PM
- Netflix ‘Living With Yourself’ trailer offers a double dose of Paul Rudd Monday 2:07 PM
- How to stream the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Monday 2:04 PM
Two days after an 18-year-old testified to Congress that his mother denied him vaccinations based off information she learned on social media, Facebook finally said it will limit anti-vax content on its platform.
On Thursday, Facebook announced that in a bid to “tackle vaccine misinformation,” it will not allow anti-vaccination content to be promoted through sponsored ads or recommendations, while also limiting its appearances in its search function. It will also reduce the ranking of pages promoting such information, reject ads that consist of misinformation about vaccinations, and “will take action against” World Health Organization-verified hoaxes that appear on Facebook.
“We are exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic,” read the announcement.
Facebook reportedly won’t remove all anti-vaccination content, however. But it will use the opportunity to educate users and is “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.”
On Tuesday, teenager Ethan Lindenberger told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that his mother refused to give him vaccinations based on information she read on Facebook. He testified that the spread of false information about immunizations should be tackled with “concern of education and addressing misinformation properly.”
Facebook isn’t the only tech organization being forced to come to terms about anti-vax propaganda. Last month, Pinterest restricted content for any vaccinated-related searches to counter the spread of “misinformation.” YouTube has also pulled ads from anti-vaccination content from its portal following complaints from seven companies who did not know their ads were running during anti-vax videos.
The issue has become more pressing in the past two months, since a measles outbreak in different parts of the country forced tech companies to acknowledge their platforms are playing a role in the spread of wrong information. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 667 cases of measles, a record high after years of only dozens of cases a year. The number spiked again in 2018 to 372 and has already hit 206 as of February of this year.
- Teen son of anti-vaxxer speaks to Congress after choosing to get immunizations
- Desperate teens of anti-vaxxers are turning to Reddit for vaccination advice
- Amazon charity option reportedly used by anti-vaccination groups
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque