Soon enough, you’ll probably stop seeing vaccine misinformation on Facebook from friends and family, due to new policy changes by the company.
On Monday, February 8th, Facebook finally announced that they would remove all posts with false vaccine information that get posted to their platform. This announcement, long overdue, is one that goes several steps further than their previous vaccine misinformation policies, in key ways. The bottom line about the announcement, however, is that it means that you will probably see a lot less fake news about vaccines posted by people you may know or people you are friends with. Here’s how the policy differs from previous announcements, and what it means for Facebook in general.
The New Facebook Anti-Vaxx Misinformation Policy, Explained
The new announcement by Facebook is a strong move against vaccine misinformation. The website will now take down posts by individuals and in groups and on Facebook pages that are unpaid, AKA by individuals or by people who aren’t running businesses, about any vaccines or any vaccine misinformation at all. That means that your garden variety anti-vaxx misinformation meme, the stuff that has proliferated on the site and has a massive impact on what people believe about vaccine safety, would be removed under the new policy.
How Does It Go Further Than The Other Policies?
The new policy will also ban misinformation about all vaccines, not just COVID-19 vaccines. This is a step further than their previous policy of simply suppressing false vaccine content by pushing it far down people’s feeds or in groups or on pages and making it harder to find said anti-vaxx groups. If it feels like the bare minimum to finally take a stand and remove pages, posts, and even anti-vaxx Facebook groups that have long been allowed to proliferate on the site, it’s because it is — but the change is welcome.
This policy obviously goes far beyond the previous Facebook policy of basically shadowbanning anti-vax content. But it also goes further than policies that were just announced at the end of 2020, including a policy that would stop advertisers and companies from being able to buy ads that are full of vaccine misinformation and a December policy that announced they would remove COVID-19 vaccine lies specifically.
Hopefully, this means that the era of rampant, widespread vaccine misinformation on Facebook will finally come to an end — and that you’ll stop seeing as many vaccine lies.