Facebook cracks down on vaccine misinformation ‘superspreaders’

Back in March, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) printed linking greater than two-thirds of vaccine misinformation on-line to12 people. That statistic has been broadly cited since, together with by lawmakers and authorities officers, as proof that Facebook has lies about COVID-19 vaccines.

Now, 5 months later, Facebook says it greater than 36 accounts, teams, and Pages related to these misinformation “superspreaders.” The firm says it’s taken different actions to make different content material related to these people much less seen, as effectively.

“We have also imposed penalties on nearly two dozen additional Pages, groups or accounts linked to these 12 people, like moving their posts lower in News Feed so fewer people see them or not recommending them to others,” Facebook mentioned in a press release. “We’ve applied penalties to some of their website domains as well so any posts including their website content are moved lower in News Feed. Notably, some accounts associated with the group remain online, which Facebook says is because they are either “inactive,” not posting rule-breaking content material or have solely shared “a small amount” of such content material.

Facebook has taken subject with the CCDH’s report because it was first printed, disputing its methodology and its conclusion. In its newest assertion, the social community mentioned “there isn’t any evidence” to assist the report’s declare that 73 p.c of vaccine misinformation is linked to the group, which incorporates Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Joseph Mercola, Del Bigtree and different distinguished anti-vaccine activists. Yet the report has develop into a headache for the corporate because it was cited by the final month in a well being advisory warning the general public of vaccine misinformation on-line. Overall, the corporate has eliminated teams, pages and accounts for repeatedly breaking its guidelines in opposition to COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation through the pandemic, although the corporate nonetheless hasn’t shared stats on how typically such misinformation is being considered.

In , CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed mentioned that Facebook had “grossly misrepresented” the analysis. “Facebook has grossly misrepresented CCDH and Anti-Vax Watch’s research while continuing to withhold the data that show how many of its users have been exposed to disinformation fueling vaccine hesitancy. CCDH and Anti-Vax Watch continue to be fully transparent about their methodologies, which rely on publicly available tools for tracking audience and content reach.”

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