Facebook stalled in combating vaccine misinformation during pivotal time in COVID-19 battle


FILE – This March 29, 2018, file photo shows the Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last spring, false claims about vaccine safety threatened to undermine the world’s response to COVID-19.

All the while, researchers at Facebook found they could reduce vaccine misinformation by tweaking how vaccine posts show up on users’ newsfeeds.

Yet despite evidence that it worked, Facebook took a full month to implement the changes at a pivotal time in the global vaccine rollout. Facebook’s own documents also reveal how comments on posts are a hotbed for anti-vaccine messages.

But when another researcher suggested disabling comments on vaccine posts, that idea was ignored. Those revelations were contained in disclosures by a former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower.

Facebook says it has made “considerable progress” with downgrading vaccine misinformation in users’ feeds.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trademark and Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


get the app

My FOX8 News App

North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

Follow FOX8 on Twitter