Facebook announced on Monday that the company would take action against users and groups on Facebook and Instagram that spread misinformation about the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine or vaccines in general.
“We will begin enforcing this policy immediately,” the company said on a blog post, “Groups, pages and accounts on Facebook and Instagram that repeatedly share these debunked claims may be removed altogether.”
Facebook already has banned advertisements that spread misinformation about vaccines.
In December, the company announced that on the advice of its oversight board, posts that spread misinformation about Covid-19 would be labeled as inaccurate, with links to correct information.
The new policy was developed in consultation with the World Health Organization expanding a list of debunked claims to include those that Covid-19 was man-made in a lab; that vaccines are not effective, toxic, dangerous or cause autism; or that “it’s safer to get the disease than to get the vaccination.”
Anti-vaccine activists have used social media to undermine the public’s confidence in the vaccines, including anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr., whose January Facebook post, perpetuating the hoax that baseball legend Hank Aaron died of Covid-19 after being vaccinated, remains on the site, although it is tagged by reviewers.
The Fulton County, Georgia medical examiner refuted the rumors and said Aaron died of natural causes.
The false Internet rumors about Aaron’s death were the inspiration for some anti-vaccine protesters who attacked a mass vaccination site in Dodger Stadium last week, they told a leading US daily. SOVEREIGNPH