Anti-Vaccination Propaganda Infiltrates Facebook and YouTube Results

Facebook and YouTube users searching for information about vaccines are being steered toward unscientific, anti-vaccination propaganda designed to frighten parents, The Guardian reports. Facebook search results are dominated by anti-vaccination misinformation, while YouTube’s search algorithm is leading users to propaganda, the newspaper found. This misinformation has real world consequences. A public health emergency was recently declared in Washington state, where low rates of vaccination have led to a measles outbreak with 37 confirmed cases so far. The World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. Facebook and YouTube are reportedly moving toward taking steps to address anti-vaccination propaganda. “We are committed to accurate and useful information throughout Facebook,” said a Facebook spokeswoman, Andrea Vallone, in a statement. But anti-vaccine propaganda does not currently violate Facebook’s rules, and the company accepts advertising from anti-vaccination groups, boosting the performance of their misinformation, according to the report.