Facebook to remove false claims about COVID-19 vaccine
Thoughts are with your gullible uncle at this time
Facebook has pledged to remove false claims about Covid-19 vaccines following news that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had been approved. The vaccine could be rolled out as soon as next week in the UK.
Throughout the pandemic, between March and October, 12 million posts were taken down from Facebook and Instagram due to containing misinformation.
The social media company announced in October that it would remove ads that discouraged people from taking vaccines and will now apply that to anti-vaccine material around Covid-19.
That includes suggestions that the vaccine contains a microchip that will track you, for reasons unknown.
A Facebook spokesperson said: "We are applying our policy to remove misinformation about the virus that could lead to imminent physical harm.
"This could include false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of the vaccines.
"For example, we will remove false claims that Covid-19 vaccines contain microchips or anything else that isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list.
"We will also remove conspiracy theories about Covid-19 vaccines that we know today are false, like specific populations are being used without their consent to test the vaccine’s safety."
Facebook are working in tandem with FullFact, an independent fact-checking charity, to identify dangerous misinformation.
Tom Phillips told the PA news agency: "We have seen a lot of the internet platforms take stricter measures against vaccine misinformation and I think that is the correct approach. Could some of them go further? Yes, possibly.
"But at the same time, it is important to remember the importance of free speech. It’s not illegitimate to have questions or worries about the vaccine and it’s important that we don’t just react by trying to suppress those questions. We allow people to ask the questions, get good quality answers and make up their minds based on good quality information."