Medicine Hat News

Facebook steps up vaccine misinforma­tion efforts

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As inoculatio­n efforts for the coronaviru­s ramp up around the world, Facebook says it’s going all in to block the spread of bogus vaccine claims. In practice, that means the social network plans to ban a new bunch of false claims in addition to the manifold false claims about vaccines and COVID-19 that it has already banned.

Among Facebook’s new targets: claims include that vaccines aren’t effective or that they’re toxic, dangerous or cause autism, all of which have been thoroughly debunked for both the coronaviru­s vaccine and any other vaccine.

The platform had already prohibited users from spreading falsehoods that such as: masks are ineffectiv­e; vaccines cause infertilit­y; vaccines contain tracking microchips; and vaccines don’t actually exist. Plus a whole host of other dangerous misinforma­tion that’s been debunked by the World Health Organizati­on or government agencies, per a policy that went into effect in December.

In the fall of 2020, the company banned advertisem­ents that discourage vaccinatio­ns — with an exception carved out for advocacy ads about government vaccine policies — but at that time it didn’t ban unpaid posts by users.

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