Social media must prepare for flood of Covid-19 vaccine misinformation

Nearly two years ago, public health experts blamed social media platforms for contributing to a measles outbreak by allowing false claims about the risks of vaccines to spread.

Facebook pledged to take tougher action on anti-vaccine misinformation, including making it less prominent in the news feed and not recommending related groups. But shortly after, Facebook-owned Instagram continued to serve up posts from anti-vaccine accounts and hashtags to anyone searching for the word “vaccines.” Despite actions against anti-vaccine content since then — some as recent as last month — Facebook has failed to totally quash the movement on its platforms.

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Facebook says it will remove coronavirus vaccine misinformation.
Facebook on Thursday said it would remove posts that contain claims about Covid-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts, as the social network acts more aggressively to bat down coronavirus misinformation while falsehoods run rampant.

The move goes a step beyond how Facebook had handled misinformation about other kinds of vaccines. The company had previously made it more difficult to find vaccine misinformation that was not related to the coronavirus by “downranking” it, essentially making it less visible in people’s news feeds.

Facebook bans false claims about COVID-19 vaccines
Facebook Inc on Thursday said it would remove false claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts, following a similar announcement by Alphabet Inc’s YouTube in October.

Facebook steps up campaign to ban false information about coronavirus vaccines
With a coronavirus vaccine around the corner in the United States, Facebook will step up its efforts to remove false claims about vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts, the company said Thursday.

The company said it will remove false claims that could include misinformation about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of the vaccines. It also will remove specific conspiracy theories, such as baseless claims that vaccines contain microchips or that certain populations will be forced to be vaccinated.

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