It has been almost 2 months since the start of the vaccine distribution and Anti vax accounts have been popping up as recommendations on Instagram and Facebook. Several social media companies also faced similar problems and have been posing a big problem to vaccine distribution.
Facebook has struggled with addressing anti-vaxxer content. Last year they established new rules to tackle Covid-19 vaccine misinformation after pledging two years ago to reduce the spread of anti-vaxxer content. However, the information continues to spread and many lives have been lost. Misinformation about the vaccine can mean life or death.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, updated its search interface on mobile devices to showcase three credible results, including the CDC’s account, followed by a “See More Results” prompt. Users who click on that option are then shown a number of anti-vaccination accounts, this is not only dangerous but goes against what they vowed to do. However this does not change that they tried and many companies continue to do the same but receive the same results.
Many conspiracists have been creating facebook pages claiming their news is reliable. One facebook group in particular claimed that 53 people died from taking the virus. Although it was marked as false information by facebook, people continued to use it and probably affected the future of many lives.
Four of the top 10 search results for “vaccine” on Instagram were for anti-vaccination accounts, including “vaccinetruth,” “vaccinefreedom,” “antivaxxknowthefacts,” and “cv19vaccinereactions.” With better moderation I believe that Facebook can overcome these problems.
According to CNN, “In December, Facebook said it would remove claims about coronavirus vaccines that have been debunked by public health officials, including baseless conspiracy theories that they contain microchips. Previously, Facebook’s policies banned misinformation about Covid-19 that “contributes to the risk of imminent violence or physical harm.”Public health experts have said they fear misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and anti-vaccination content generally on social media could lead to people declining to get the shot. “If they’re scared away by falsehoods perpetuated through social media, we’ll have a real problem of getting out of this pandemic,” said Dr. L.J Tan, chief strategy officer of the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC).”