Facebook is currently on a mission to clean up its platform. Since the turn of the year alone, Facebook has identified and removed over 3500 inauthentic pages, accounts and group from its platform and that of Instagram. The social media giants embarked on this project as part of its efforts to control manipulation of people and boost the security of its platform.
However, there is a new threat facing social media, and that is the threat of misinformation. ‘Fake news’ as its more widely called in Nigeria has caused much damage to the credibility of social networks and it threatens to cause even more. One of the most worrisome cases of ‘fake news’ is the currently ongoing “Anti-Vax” campaign. People are spreading misinformation that vaccines are the underlying cause several illnesses in adults. And since this inaccurate piece of information started flying around, there has been an increase in the amount of parents that refuse to vaccinate their children. To curb the spread of this fake news, Facebook announced last week that it will take the following steps:
- We will reduce the ranking of groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search. These groups and Pages will not be included in recommendations or in predictions when you type into Search.
- When we find ads that include misinformation about vaccinations, we will reject them. We’ve also removed related targeting options, like “vaccine controversies.” For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action, such as disabling the ad account.
- We won’t show or recommend content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages.
- We are exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic.
Similarly, premier video platform, YouTube has also taken a stance in trying to combat the problem of spreading misinformation. YouTube intends to do this by adding a new ‘fact check pop-up’ that will appear on videos on subjects liable to spreading fake news. Although some videos containing wrong information will still feature on the platform, YouTube will now put up disclaimers on such videos to let its viewers know that the information in the video is not yet verified.
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