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In an effort to combat misinformation around COVID-19 and vaccines, Facebook has taken a stricter stance on the types of claims it will ban from the platform — including the false claim that vaccines cause autism.
The update comes amid the social media platform’s efforts to provide more reliable information on COVID-19 and vaccines.
“In addition to sharing reliable information, we are expanding our efforts to remove false claims on Facebook and Instagram about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general during the pandemic,” the company said in a blog post on 8 February.
The company consulted with the WHO and other health organisations in the lead-up to the decision.
Previously, Facebook removed false claims about COVID-19 vaccines. But it is stepping up its efforts as misinformation continues to spread.
Facebook expands removal of vaccine misinformation
Facebook has now expanded the list of false claims to include more debunked myths about COVID-19 and vaccines in general.
Posts that the company will now remove from Instagram and Facebook include ones that claim:
- COVID-19 is human-made or manufactured.
- Vaccines are ineffective at preventing the disease they are meant to protect against.
- It’s safer to get the disease than the vaccine.
- Vaccines are toxic, dangerous, or cause autism.
“These new policies will help us continue to take aggressive action against misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines,” the company says.
Feature image: Solen Feyissa on Unsplash