Facebook turns censorship eyes toward anti-vaccination crowd

18 February, 2019, 20:24 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • How bad is measles? Ask a veteran pediatrician who has seen it kill patients

And, a January 2019 article said a recent study by the Royal Society for Public Health found that half of all parents with small children were exposed to misinformation about vaccines on social media.

With the outbreak of measles' cases which now spread across countries, Washington lawmakers are now weighing a bill called House Bill 1638 that tightens the state's vaccination rules.

The bulk of anti-vaccination content doesn't violate Facebook's community guidelines for inciting "real-world harm", according to a spokesperson, and the site's algorithms often promote unscientific pages or posts about the issue.

A leading member of Congress sent a letter to Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg today, the CEOs of Google and Facebook, respectively, to express concern about social media platforms that are recommending information that discourages parents from vaccinating their children. "The algorithms which power these services are not created to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues". "The company also said it's considering demoting these options in search results and ensuring that "higher quality and more authoritative" information is available".

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Less than 20 years ago, measles in the US was classified as a eradicated disease with only a few hundred cases nationwide, according to the Journal of Infectious Diseases. He also asks whether the sharing of medically inaccurate information is a violation of the social network's terms of use.

A U.S. congressman is pushing Facebook and Google to consider cracking down on anti-vaccination content circulating over their platforms. Facebook did not respond to questions from the Guardian about its plans for dealing with the issue.

With five measles outbreaks ongoing in the United States, lawmakers are questioning both health officials and tech giants on their efforts to combat the noxious anti-vaccine misinformation fueling the spread of disease. Vaccinations ranked among the three most popular story topics.

Advertisers pay to reach groups of people on Facebook which include those interested in "Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines", which refers to anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny, and "informed consent", which is language that anti-vaccine propagandists have adopted to fight vaccination laws, The Guardian reported on Friday. A different Guardian investigation also found Facebook had accepted advertising revenue from Vax Truther, Anti-Vaxxer, Vaccines Revealed and MI for Vaccine Choice, among others.

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