Facebook Will Now Block Anti-Vaxxer Ads And Limit Reach Of Their Groups

As parts of the world experience outbreaks of measles and whopping cough, Facebook is doing its bit to ensure that vaccine hesitancy doesn't spread further.

The anti-vaxx movement, which is the group of people who don't believe in vaccines or think they're harmful, has been growing over recent years and that's due, in part, to misinformation spread on social media.

But Facebook is ensuring that anti-vaxx ads will no longer appear on the platform.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Instead of outright banning vaccine hesitant groups, the social networking giant will diminish their reach. That means they'll appear lower on search results, appear less on people's news feeds, they'll be removed them from 'Groups You Should Follow' and from the auto-fill function in the search bar.

Facebook's head of global policy, Monika Bickert wrote in a blog post: "If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them.

"For example, if a group or Page admin posts this vaccine misinformation, we will exclude the entire group or Page from recommendations, reduce these groups and Pages' distribution in News Feed and Search, and reject ads with this misinformation."

Because Facebook owns Instagram, the policy will also extend to that social media platform as well.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

It follows a similar move from YouTube last month, which demonetised videos about anti-vax content.

A statement from the company released to Buzzfeed said: "We have strict policies that govern what videos we allow ads to appear on, and videos that promote anti-vaccination content are a violation of those policies.

"We enforce these policies vigorously, and if we find a video that violates them, we immediately take action and remove ads."

A man who got vaccinated just after he turned 18 because his mum didn't believe in vaccines recently testified in US Congress.

Ethan Lindenberger explained to lawmakers that despite presenting evidence and information from reputable sources to his mum explaining the necessity for vaccines, she responded with 'that's what they want you to think'.

"I grew up understanding my mother believed vaccines are dangerous, as she would speak openly about her views both online and in person," he said.

He said explained that the best way to limit the spread of anti-vaxx information was to target where it comes from.

"The sources which spread misinformation should be the primary concern of the American people," he said.

It only took two days for Facebook and Instagram to heed the 18-year-old's warning and they've taken swift and appropriate action against this harmful 'information'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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