Facebook says it may remove anti-vaccine recommendations
Facebook says it will look into removing posts promoting conspiracy theories about vaccines following complaints from Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGovernment analyst resigns over blocked climate change testimony: reports Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel This week: Lawmakers return as Amash fallout looms MORE (D-Calif.).
The company told Bloomberg News on Friday that it is “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem” of fake news and conspiracy theories being promoted on its site, which include numerous groups and message boards dedicated to spreading theories concerning a nonexistent link between vaccines and autism.
Possible steps the company could take include “reducing or removing this type of content from recommendations, including Groups You Should Join, and demoting it in search results, while also ensuring that higher quality and more authoritative information is available,” the company told Bloomberg.
Facebook’s statement followed a letter to the company from Schiff, who argued that Facebook’s platform was contributing to global health risks caused by speculation surrounding vaccines.
“There is strong evidence to suggest that at least part of the source of this trend is the degree to which medically inaccurate information about vaccines surface on the websites where many Americans get their information,” Schiff’s letter reads, according to Bloomberg.
“The algorithms which power these services are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues,” he continued.
Google, which runs the popular video service YouTube, did not respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg on Schiff’s statements but has reportedly already begun cutting videos with questionable content from the platform, though numerous videos promoting vaccine conspiracy theories can still be found on the service.