Facebook said in a statement that it plans to remove posts with false claims that COVID-19 vaccines are “toxic, dangerous or cause autism”.
The social media company said it made in consultation with groups like the World Health Organization (WTO), to expand the list of false claims it will remove on its platforms, including Instagram.
In October, Facebook prohibited people and companies from purchasing advertising that included false or misleading information about vaccines. In December, it threatened to remove posts with claims that the WTO or government agencies had debunked.
The social network says it will also remove posts that claim COVID-19 is human-made or manufactured, plus vaccines are not effective at preventing the disease they are meant to protect against.
“These new policies will help us continue to take aggressive action against misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines,” Facebook said in a statement.
“We will begin enforcing this policy immediately, with a particular focus on Pages, groups and accounts that violate these rules, and we’ll continue to expand our enforcement over the coming weeks.”
Impact on Instagram
The social network warned that groups, pages and accounts on Facebook and Instagram that repeatedly share these debunked claims might be removed altogether.
“We are also requiring some admins for groups with admins or members who have violated our COVID-19 policies to temporarily approve all posts within their group. Claims about COVID-19 or vaccines that do not violate these policies will still be eligible for review by our third-party fact-checkers, and if they are rated false, they will be labeled and demoted.
“Finally, we are continuing to improve Search results on our platforms. When people search for vaccine or COVID-19 related content on Facebook, we promote relevant, authoritative results and provide third-party resources to connect people to expert information about vaccines.
“On Instagram, in addition to surfacing authoritative results in Search, in the coming weeks we’re making it harder to find accounts in search that discourage people from getting vaccinated.”