Global health experts urge Google, Facebook to crack down on spread of vaccine misinformation

Members of the International Working Group on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions issued a statement July 2 in which they called on search engines, social media platforms, governments and educators to prevent the dissemination of inaccurate information about childhood vaccination.

In the Salzburg Statement, published in the Journal of Health Communication, the group urged search engines and social media organizations to develop standards regarding the evidence behind vaccine-related claims that will improve their ability to detect harmful misinformation. The group recommended that these organizations promote information primarily from "robust scientific sources" to prevent the harm caused by "unscientific misinformation."

Additionally, the statement called upon policymakers, advocacy groups and educators to support laws mandating childhood vaccination, encourage the spread of reliable vaccine information and promote the idea of vaccines as an essential public service on par with law enforcement and sanitation. Parents, meanwhile, must "seek information about vaccines from sources that have documented scientific and medical expertise, without agendas based on misinformation and unproven alternative," the group wrote.

Read the full Salzburg Statement here, signed by 14 scientists, public health professionals, physicians and child health advocates representing the Harvard School of Public Health, the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and more.

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