Facebook steps up efforts to remove COVID-19 vaccine misinformation
With a coronavirus vaccine around the corner in the United States, Facebook will step up its efforts to remove false claims about vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts, the company said Thursday.
As explained by Facebook:
"Given the recent news that COVID-19 vaccines will soon be rolling out around the world, over the coming weeks we will start removing false claims about these vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts on Facebook and Instagram. This could include false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of the vaccines."Facebook already prohibits misinformation related to the coronavirus, as well as advertising opposing vaccinations, so most false claims about vaccines would already have effectively been prohibited on both Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram.
Facebook says that this will include any posts or comments that claim that:
- COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else which isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list
- Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines - "like claims that specific populations are being used without their consent to test the vaccine’s safety".
- Claims about possible dangers or risks that have been refuted by official health bodies
Social media, and Facebook in particular, is host to many large and enthusiastic communities that oppose vaccines. Facebook allows such groups to proliferate on the grounds that people should be able to express their views on social media.