Facebook reducing fake news about vaccines

After widespread pressure to repudiate anti-vaccine misinformation on the social media platform Facebook announced on Thursday it's taking several steps to tackle the issue

We will reduce the ranking of groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search.

Additionally, ads that include misinformation about vaccines will no longer be allowed on the service, and targeted advertising options such as "vaccine controversies" are being removed.

Last month, The Daily Beast found almost 150 anti-vaccine advertising spots on Facebook that specifically target women over the age of 25, which is the demographic most likely to have children needing vaccinations. If ad accounts continue to spread misinformation, Facebook said it will disable the account.

The Explore and hashtag pages of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also will not show or recommend content that contains anti-vaccination messages, Bickert said, explaining the details with a simple example.

In a blog post by Monika Bickert, Facebook's Vice-President Global Policy Management, the company said it is "working to tackle vaccine misinformation on Facebook by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic". It is said that her mother had developed anti-vaccine beliefs through her involvement with various Facebook groups. According to the World Health Organization, Europe saw a record number of measles cases in 2018, due, at least in part, to a growing number of parents who are refusing vaccinations for their children, while in America - where measles was officially declared eliminated in 2000 - reports of outbreaks are, once again, becoming common.

The social media platform will also be providing additional context so users can decide whether to read, share, or engage in conversations about the information they find online. While some of them are already live, some remain in testing phases.

In January, a study by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) warned social media was a "breeding ground for misleading information and negative messaging around vaccination" and more action needed to be taken to challenge claims made against vaccines.

Facebook is officially taking a hard stance against any vaccine misinformation circulating on its platform.

"Yes", Lindenberger replied. "Mainly Facebook".

As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before.

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