Facebook “Exploring Additional Measures” to Fight Anti-Vaccine Information
By Jason Erickson | Activist Post
As the “fake news” phenomenon continues to sweep across the Web, and the purge of independent media accelerates, lawmakers are calling on Facebook and Big Tech to take responsibility for anti-vaccine messaging that appears on their platform(s).
According to a new report at Geek.com, lawmakers such as Adam Schiff (D-CA) are blaming the measles outbreak in the U.S. on social media systems that offer anti-vaccine messaging in their “recommended reading and groups” areas. Schiff would like Big Tech to step up and combat exposure to the information, according to a letter he sent directly to the heads of Google and Facebook. Geek.com cites Bloomberg:
“There is strong evidence to suggest that at least part of the source of this trend is the degree to which medically inaccurate information about vaccines surface on the websites where many Americans get their information,” Schiff wrote in the letter. “The algorithms which power these services are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues.”
Facebook responded to Schiff’s letter and told Bloomberg in a statement that it’s “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem.” These next steps might include minimizing or reducing false anti-vaccine content from recommendations, including Facebook’s Groups You Should Join, and giving them a lower ranking in Facebook search results. Additionally, Facebook will step up its fake news policing to ensure more authoritative information is available on its social network site.