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Facebook to Crack Down on Anti-Vax Ads After Daily Beast Report

Social-media giant Facebook may take steps to combat the prevalence of anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories on its platform, the company said Thursday. Facebook is “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem,” it said in a statement first reported by Bloomberg News. Those steps may include “reducing or removing this type of content from recommendations...and demoting it in search results, while also ensuring that higher quality and more authoritative information is available.” The statement came shortly after The Daily Beast reported that anti-vaccine Facebook ads have been viewed millions of times since late last year. Many of those ads have targeted women over the age of 25, a demographic likely to include mothers of young children. Some even targeted Facebook users “interested in pregnancy,” according to data from ProPublica. A number of the ads also appear to have targeted residents of states currently struggling to control measles outbreaks. Facebook’s statement came in response to a letter from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who questioned the company’s procedures for weeding out scientifically inaccurate and potentially dangerous misinformation on the platform. —Lachlan Markay