Facebook Will Ban Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracy Theories About Coronavirus Vaccine
Facebook has announced it will remove posts containing false information regarding coronavirus vaccines.
The social media platform has vowed to stamp down on misinformation which has been disproven by public health experts.
‘We are applying our policy to remove misinformation about the virus that could lead to imminent physical harm. This could include false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of the vaccines. For example, we will remove false claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else that isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list,’ Facebook said in a statement, as per the Independent.
The platform plans to take down any posts involving conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccines that are known to be untrue.
‘We will also remove conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines that we know today are false, like specific populations are being used without their consent to test the vaccine’s safety. Since it’s early and facts about COVID-19 vaccines will continue to evolve, we will regularly update the claims we remove based on guidance from public health authorities as they learn more,’ it added.
The statement did, however, note that it would ‘not be able to start enforcing these policies overnight.’
Facebook had already began removing posts which contained COVID-19 misinformation that was deemed to put people at risk of ‘imminent physical harm,’ including claims that the virus doesn’t exist and harmful false cures.
The social media platform has teamed up with independent fact-checking charity FullFact, in a bid to get on top of disinformation being spread on the site.
‘We have seen a lot of the internet platforms take stricter measures against vaccine misinformation and I think that is the correct approach. Could some of them go further? Yes, possibly,’ FullFact editor Tom Phillips told PA.
‘But at the same time, it is important to remember the importance of free speech. It’s not illegitimate to have questions or worries about the vaccine and it’s important that we don’t just react by trying to suppress those questions. We allow people to ask the questions, get good quality answers and make up their minds based on good quality information.’
Facebook’s announcement comes just days after regulators approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use here in the UK. Elderly citizens living in care homes and care home staff will be offered the vaccination first.
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