Facebook takes down UK fake accounts; to tackle anti-vaccine info

Henrietta Strickland
March 11, 2019

Facebook said that it has removed targeting categories such as "vaccine controversies".

"We are fully committed to the safety of our community and will continue to work in this field", said Monica Bickert, vice president of worldwide policy on Facebook.

Facebook detailed initiatives to derail the distribution of vaccine misinformation on its social media platform. Facebook is also exploring options to share educational and informational content on vaccines.

Katie Clunn of Maple Ridge said Friday the social media giant must go beyond reducing its distribution of such content as well as the ranking of groups and pages that spread misinformation, according to its new policy.

There has been a widespread measles outbreak in the United States and elsewhere, especially with measles vaccination having being linked to causing autism, which of course has been disproved with numerous studies demonstrating the falsity of this belief.

"A team at Facebook will use guidelines based on the most widely debunked vaccine hoaxes published by health experts", it said.

"Also, ads that include misinformation about vaccinations will be rejected", she said.

A statement said that government had made a decision to reach out to Facebook and YouTube managements in a bid to remove all anti-polio vaccine propaganda videos and other materials.

The changes in Facebook and Instagram recommendation systems, along with the company's proposed fact offensive, may also ease the concerns of the growing number of researchers who have noted the fast spread of misinformation online and especially on social media.

"Posts from violating groups and pages containing these hoaxes will appear lower in News Feed and will be removed from search results and group recommendations".

The letter mentioned that above 100,000 children in every round were missed during polio vaccination because of false propaganda regarding the vaccine. More than 70 cases have been confirmed since January - 66 "were found in people 18 and younger and the vast majority were not immunized", The Seattle Times reported.

"For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action, such as disabling the ad account".

In February, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sent letters to the heads of Facebook and Google, which also has been under fire for YouTube's role in promoting misinformation, asking how they plan to protect their users from potentially unsafe hoaxes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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