Anti-Vax Groups Still Thrive on Facebook, Despite Content Ban
Tens of thousands of Facebook users participate in groups that spread misinfo about vaccines — some with an odd religious bent
A month after Facebook said it would expand efforts to scrub its platforms of vaccine misinformation, false narratives about the Covid-19 vaccine are still flourishing in public and private Facebook communities.
OneZero found dozens of anti-vax groups, public and private, some of which have tens of thousands of users. The sheer abundance of anti-vax material in Facebook groups suggests that the company’s current tools and strategies aren’t enough to tackle even surface-level vaccine misinformation.
Facebook has not released a progress update since its blog post last month, and it did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a group called “Covid-19 vaccine adverse reaction testimonials,” one member bizarrely accused the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca of “facilitating Satanic ritual.”
Facebook’s renewed pledge to eradicate vaccine hoaxes and misinformation was informed by a January ruling from the company’s oversight board, an internally funded third-party review body. In January, the board critiqued the application of Facebook’s vaccine policies as “inappropriately vague,” and pressed the company to create new community standards on health misinformation. According to the New York Times, Facebook responded by declaring it would focus on the spread of harmful vaccine content across groups and pages, which have long posed a pernicious moderation challenge for the platform.
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Despite this vow, dangerous conspiracy theories continue to bubble up in vaccine-related Facebook communities.
In a private group of 27,000 members called “MTHFR Connections: Tongue Ties, Autism, V@xynes…