Facebook took several steps last year to combat the issue of ‘fake news’ in India and other countries. Now, the social media giant is taking a step further as it will soon start downranking pages and posts that will give misinformation on vaccines. “We are working to tackle vaccine misinformation on Facebook by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic,” says Monika Bickert, VP, global policy management, Facebook in a blog post.
The firm is supposed to start by taking four major steps:
-Reducing the ranking of groups and Facebook pages that that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search. This means that these groups and pages won’t show up in recommendations or in search predictions.
-Facebook is also rejecting ads that spread wrong information about vaccinations. This also includes related targeting options such as ‘vaccine controversies. Also, if ad accounts repeatedly post such ads, Facebook might also disable their account.
-This is not only Facebook but Instagram as well. Bickert says that the company also won’t recommend or show content with vaccine misinformation on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages.
-While doing all this, the firm says it is “exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic.”
So, who decides what information is hoax or real?
Facebook is partnering with World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others to identify a verifiable vaccine hoax and take them down.
And in order to give users the right information, the company is “exploring ways to give people more accurate information from expert organizations about vaccines at the top of results for related searches, on Pages discussing the topic, and on invitations to join groups about the topic,” says Bickert.
Facebook late last year took several steps to combat fake news. While some of them are already live, some remain in testing phases.