Facebook misinformation creates hurdles for UNICEF, WHO vaccine content

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Concerns that COVID-19 misinformation gets promoted on Facebook have made major health organizations hesitant to promote vaccine content on the site, Politico reported Oct. 27.

Five things to know:

  1. Authoritative health actors, such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF, expressed concern about advertising on Facebook because they don't want to encourage anti-vaccine users to comment warnings on their pages, a Facebook memo stated. While UNICEF continued to share pro-vaccine content, it is unclear how much advertising the institutions have used.

  2. About 40 percent of all comments on Facebook are related to vaccine hesitancy, and anti-vaccine activists have been able to fuel COVID-19 misinformation, according to disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission that were obtained by Politico.

  3. Facebook's newsfeed algorithm has been criticized for pushing content based on if it's popular rather than if it's appropriate for the user.

  4. Rampant misinformation has drowned out pro-vaccine initiatives, like providing free advertising on Facebook to promote getting vaccinated.

  5. Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook, told Politico that the social media platform has used its resources to cut vaccine hesitancy by half and remove COVID-19 misinformation.

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