In its efforts to reduce the spread of misinformation on vaccine usage, Facebook has said it will reject ads that include misinformation about vaccinations.
The company said it would also diminish the reach of groups and pages that spread anti-vaccine misinformation by reducing their ranking in search results and on the news feed.
The decision follows the United States Senate hearing on how to stop the outbreak of preventable diseases.
An 18-year-old testified that he was immunised against the wishes of his mother, who he said had developed anti-vaccine beliefs through her involvement with various Facebook groups.
In a statement released on Thursday, Facebook’s Vice President, Global Policy Management, Monika Bickert, said they are working to tackle vaccine misinformation by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic.
“Facebook is doing this by taking a series of steps including reducing the ranking of groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search.
“These groups and Pages will not be included in recommendations or predictions when you type into search.
“Also, ads that include misinformation about vaccinations will be rejected,” she said.
There have been increased scrutiny of the role that social media platforms play in amplifying and financing the anti-vaccine movement.
Facebook has also come under scrutiny by health advocates and lawmakers over anti-vaccination groups and ads on its network.
Bickert said the company also removed related targeting options, like “vaccine controversies.”
She noted that ad accounts that continue to violate the company’s policies might be disabled.
“For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action, such as disabling the ad account.
“We won’t show or recommend content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages.
“We are exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic,” Ms Bickert said.