Under fire to serve propaganda against the vaccine, Facebook announced today that it will eliminate from its recommendations the groups and the pages that share erroneous information about the vaccine. The company also promised that it will stop allowing advertisers to target people that Facebook's advertising algorithm identifies as interested in "vaccine disputes."
The news comes three weeks after Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a stern letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, criticizing Facebook and Instagram for "coming to the surface and recommending messages that discourage parents." to vaccinate their children. " When children are not vaccinated due to completely discredited myths that vaccines cause diseases such as autism, dangerous diseases such as measles can spread. Schiff called this "a direct threat to public health."
An area of greatest concern are Facebook groups where misinformation about vaccines may rebound in a pseudoscientific echo chamber, The Guardian reported last month. Today, Facebook is committed to stop promoting groups and anti-vax pages in recommendations and predictions in the search box. The company also promised to make it harder to find them through the search or in the news service.
When asked why Facebook did not delete these groups and pages altogether, a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge, "Speech in the form of accurate information can help create a more secure environment and respectful, as with many of our integrity efforts, striking a balance between allowing free expression of opinion and ensuring the safety of the community is something we are fully committed to. "
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