I would like to think that everyone who reads WeBindas knows that vaccines work. That they do not cause autism, as it is demonstrated again and again. That autism does not need additional stigma and is certainly preferable to sick and dead children. That the vaccines keep everyone safer, not just the vaccinated.
But there are people who do not believe in vaccines, and often take them to those beliefs through the misinformation that is disseminated in social networks. Now Facebook says that it is taking a more direct stance against the misinformation of the vaccine, which recalls recent movements to combat false news.
The company will begin by reducing the classification of groups and the pages that “disseminate misinformation about vaccines in News Feed and Search.” If a page meets the criteria for misinformation, it will not even appear in the predictions when you start typing in Search – Stop people clicking by pure curiosity. Neither will it show or recommend such content on Instagram pages or hashtag pages.
The company will also reject ads with misinformation about vaccines and eliminate related guidance options, such as “vaccine disputes?”
The company also says it is exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people encounter misinformation. You will have an update on how you will do it “soon”.
It is worth noting that Facebook does not call anti-vaxxers directly in its advertisement, and it is not clear what the criteria are for the publications to qualify as misinformation. In particular, the company does not say that it will try to hide individual anti-vax publications, only groups, pages and advertisements.
Trying to regulate exactly what they are allowed to say to users would probably open up a completely different can of worms. However dangerous the anti-vax movement may be, the company is not likely to want to repress the speech completely.
Even so, today’s changes are an important step in the right direction. We have contacted Facebook to obtain more information about its process and we will update this publication if we communicate.