Facebook has officially banned misinformation on vaccines, after years of unvetted, unfiltered claims circulating on the platform.
The Guardian reports that the social media giant will begin removing all posts with false claims about vaccines as part of its policy on COVID-19-related misinformation.
This will include user-published posts, paid advertisements and also affect Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Groups on Facebook are known to give rise to echo chambers that share false facts and have contributed to the rise of anti-vaccine communities, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Groups were such false information is shared will be shut down by Facebook under the new community guidelines.
The ban does not stop at COVID-19 related content but also encompasses any false claim about vaccines, like for example, the baseless claim that vaccines cause autism, often shared by the anti-vaccine community.
Facebook began a crackdown in December when it started removing posts debunked by public health authorities. This includes content that wearing face masks doesn’t stop the spread of the virus and that 5G technology can cause COVID-19 infections.
It has previously been criticised of not acting fast enough to clamp down on conspiracy theories that are rampant on the platform. It let one anti-vaccine film go viral on its platform while failed to remove other anti-vaccine activist pages.
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