Because of the measles epidemic that continues to grow, Public health institutions have begun to take measures and make a call to curb the misinformation generated by the anti-vaccine movement, which has been listed as one of the 10 threats to global health in 2019. Some large social networks and the Internet have joined the requests to help stop and combat it, removing false information from their platforms and without scientific evidence.
Now, Facebook and Instagram take another step against the anti-vaccine movement by announcing that redirect vaccine searches to official pages of public health institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A few months ago Facebook, announced through a statement that joined the fight against the anti-vaccine movement, beginning to eliminate and reduce visibility of content that disseminates false information about vaccines.In Babies and more Facebook joins to fight the anti-vaccine movement: it will punish those who disseminate false information about vaccines
Now, two of the world's most popular social networks have launched a new functionality on their websites and applications, to continue fighting disinformation about vaccines: show a window or warning that redirects users to official sites (from the CDC for those in the United States and from WHO for the rest of the world).
This will appear every time someone uses the search box within the social network to consult or search for information related to vaccines. The purpose is to educate Facebook users with reliable and up-to-date information, and thus curb the spread of false data about vaccines and the anti-vaccine movement.
I have done the test on both social networks from their mobile and desktop versions. In the case of Instagram, I did see the popup window with the following message after searching #vaccines Y #vaccines:
Unlike Instagram, where the option to choose between going to the website or seeing the publications appears, on Facebook I did the test writing words like vaccine, anti vaccine, anti vax, vaccines, vaccines with and without hashtag, and although the window has not appeared to me, the search results have only thrown me publications of official and verified pages from WHO, the CDC and other public health institutions.
This news comes only a few days after Pinterest announced that its results will only show scientific evidence when users search for vaccines, an initiative that has received praise from the main public health agencies, including WHO.
With this new option, Facebook and Instagram also come together to continue working hand in hand with these institutions, and help control and stop the anti-vaccine movement, as requested by the American Academy of Pediatrics to them and other social networks.