It really blows my mind that in the year 2019, parents out there buy into the anti-vaccination rhetoric and expose their kids (and others’) to potential harm.
That’s why it’s encouraging that Facebook has taken steps to fight harmful misinformation and “fake news” that appeals to these anti-vaxxers. On Facebook, informational windows will pop up when a person searches for anything related to vaccines, taps related hashtags on Instagram (which Facebook owns), or visits vaccine-related pages and groups.
Furthermore, in the U.S., users can use pop-up windows to connect to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to read about accurate, credible information about vaccines. If you live outside the U.S., you can connect to the World Health Organization through the pop-up windows.
A spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the organization is fully onboard with the move by Facebook:
“We know that parents often turn to social media to access health information and connect with other parents, and it can be difficult to determine what is accurate and who the credible sources of information are. [Combating] vaccine myths and misinformation is a shared responsibility and we applaud these efforts.”
Health experts have said that anti-vaccination information online has played a large role in fewer people getting vaccinated against diseases and that has led to outbreaks in measles and other illnesses—in fact, the US is close to having its status as a measles-free country. So this is very timely and very important.
Nice work, Facebook. Let’s see more of this in regard to the spread of misinformation, because we all know how harmful that can be to Americans and others around the world.