Facebook Wants To Protect Users Against Misleading Health Claims
Facebook recently rolled out two updates that will tackle health misinformation. That includes ads, posts, and pages that tout “miracle cures,” sell dubious weight-loss supplements, or spread anti-vaccine propaganda. From now on, Facebook will make a greater effort to target and remove such content.
“Misleading health content is particularly bad for our community,” said Travis Yeh, Facebook’s product manager, in a blog post about the updates. “Pages should avoid posts about the health that exaggerate or mislead people and posts that try to sell products using health-related claims.”
In the same blog post, Yeh said Facebook is targeting “posts with exaggerated or sensational health claims” and “posts attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims.”
Facebook’s crackdown has raised the ire of “anti-vaxxers,” or people who question the safety and efficacy of vaccines. A few months ago, Facebook banned the account associated with Natural News, a Web site that promotes “natural” cures and opposes vaccines. Facebook said the account was promoting dangerous falsehoods and conspiracy theories, such as the debunked claim that vaccines cause autism.
Supporters of Natural News said Facebook was engaging in censorship and viewpoint discrimination. Facebook, however, maintained that anti-vaccine rhetoric is a real threat to public health, especially considering the measles outbreaks in several cities earlier this year.