Google, as well as a number of other social media companies, are begging to crack down on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. As reported by Reuters, Google has expanded its current rules to included falsehoods about a potential vaccine.
Coronavirus misinformation has been a problem from the start of the pandemic for social media companies. Google and Facebook have removed a significant amount of posts about the topic. Both have bans in place concerning misinformation on COVID-19.
However, it has also emerged that the likes of Facebook have largely failed in its attempts to curb the spread of misinformation. Despite all its efforts fake news and conspiracy theories have continued to spread on social media platforms.
Google and Facebook will hope that a move to target COVID-19 vaccine misinformation will have an effect on the overall spread. However, as we have seen the task appears a mammoth one which no one is really up to the task of tackling.
Google to target coronavirus vaccine misinformation
Google has begun removed videos on YouTube which contain falsehoods and misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines.
Currently, the platform removes that “disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, promotes medically unsubstantiated methods of treatment, discourages people from seeking medical care or explicitly disputes health authorities’ health authorities’ guidance on self-isolation or social distancing”.
Now that has been extended to any questionable content about vaccines. This is largely an attempt to curb the spread of misinformation from anti-vaxxer groups.
Facebook also announced that it would ban adverts which were aimed at preventing people from getting vaccinated. The company simply made a statement saying, “we don’t want these ads on our platform”.
However, Facebook will continue to allow adds which criticize government vaccination policies. The platform will only ban ads which discourage individuals from getting a vaccine as reported by Android Central.
Facebook noted that “we regularly refine our approach around ads that are about social issues to capture debates and discussions around sensitive topics happening on Facebook”.
The company see vaccines as one of these sensitive topics pointing out that “we may narrow enforcement in some areas, we may expand it in others”.
This all seems like positive moves from Google and Facebook. Both have made strides here to continue to slow the spread of misinformation.
However, we know that up till now most companies have failed in their attempts to prevent misinformation spreading. It does not seem like these changes will have a major impact on the spread. However, here is to hoping that they will be successful.