Facebook bans anti-vaccine adverts in new crackdown against 'medical misinformation'

A Facebook anti vax

A Facebook anti vax

Facebook said it is also thinking about promoting information from expert organizations about vaccines at the top of results for related searches - a step beyond its usual tactic of de-ranking misinformation. This will be done by reducing the distribution of misleading medical advice and relying on vetting from leading global health organizations that "have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes". Misinformation will now appear less frequently in News Feeds, both public and private pages and groups, search predictions and recommendations, according to Facebook.

Facebook will ban anti-vaccination adverts and suppress anti-vaccine content as part of a broad crackdown against risky medical misinformation. "If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them", Bickert said.

A Facebook representative told CNN that the platform won't disable personal accounts that post vaccine misinformation because general misinformation does not violate the company's community standards.

Facebook also said it would be "exploring" ways to counter false content, whenever users do come across it, with "educational information" about vaccines.

Others believe Facebook is striking the right balance. For instance, Facebook made no mention of deleting pages or groups that carry the anti-vaccination content. In the past couple months, several bad news cycles have pressured the company to reconsider its marketplace-of-ideas approach to the topic: in February, the Guardian reported that anti-vax sources frequently outperform medically accurate information on Facebook.

This is part of Facebook's expanded effort to boost, primarily, election security, and ensure political groups are not working to manipulate voters through Facebook.

Facebook's crackdown on anti-vaxxers won't just punish groups that spread the information, it will also make them harder to find. However, the spokeswoman said, the users who already belong to the groups or pages will be able to log onto them as usual.

Last month, Facebook removed hundreds of Indonesian accounts, pages and groups from its network after discovering they were linked to an online group accused of spreading hate speech and fake news.

During Lindenberger's testimony, one senator asked the OH teen if his mother got most of her information online.

Laughing, Lindenberger said, "Not Facebook".

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