For a long time, Facebook opted to be on the sidelines of every public health debate and tolerated the spread of anti-vaccination content on its platform. However, this year they decided to change their idle stance and have actively been making changes to how it deals with this type of content.
First, they started fact-checking, then they started removing false information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Facebook even erased a massive amount of vaccine-related misleading content, flagged by global health authorities.
A few days ago, Facebook decided to take things up a notch by updating its ad policy that now prevents anti-vaccination sponsored posts. According to their new policy, neither people and companies will be able to discourage people from being vaccinated or describe vaccines as useless or unsafe via sponsored posts. The company stated that they don’t want those ads on their platform.
Unfortunately, Facebook’s effort to stop the spread of vaccine-related hoxes halts with that. They won’t allow anti-vaccination ads, but at the same time, they won’t do anything about organic anti-vaccination posts.
Social media experts complained that the newly updated policy is not enough. It doesn’t touch influencers that can drive massive organic fake news and misinformation related to vaccines. In a poll conducted by Gallup this September, American’s inclination to receive a coronavirus vaccine decreased to 50%. That’s a massive 11-point drop compared to the months before.
Public health experts and medical authorities in the US are increasingly concerned about the growing number of people that oppose vaccination. They believe that the key to returning to normalcy is possible with massive distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.
Facebook efforts are insufficient as the spread of anti-vaccination misinformation still finds ways to reach people on Facebook.