Monday, February 8, Facebook plans to remove posts with erroneous claims about vaccines from across its platform, including taking down assertions that vaccines cause autism or that it is safer for people to contract the coronavirus than to receive the vaccinations.
Vaccine misinformation has been around since well before the pandemic, but ensuring that anti-scientific conspiracies don’t get boosted online is more crucial than ever as the world races against the spread of a deadly, changing virus.
The company will expand the criteria it uses to take down false vaccine claims. Under the new rules, which Facebook said it made in consultation with groups like the World Health Organization, the company will remove posts claiming that COVID-19 vaccines aren’t effective, that it’s “safer to get the disease” and the widely debunked long-standing anti-vaxxer claim that vaccines could cause autism.
It will place a “particular focus” on enforcement against Pages, groups, and accounts that break the rules, noting that they may be removed from the platform outright.
“Building trust and confidence in these vaccines is critical, so we’re launching the largest worldwide campaign to help public health organizations share accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines and encourage people to get vaccinated as vaccines become available to them,” according to Kang-Xing Jin, Head of Health at Facebook.
Also, Facebook will give $120 million in advertising credits to health ministries, non-governmental organizations, and United Nations agencies to aid in spreading reliable COVID-19 vaccine and preventive health information.