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Facebook And Instagram Have Had Enough Of Vaccine Misinformation

Facebook has joined a growing list of social media platforms stamping out misinformation about vaccinations.

Users who search terms relating to vaccines on Facebook will now have reputable medical sites and pages provided.

The social media company has begun rolling out the feature across the platform and Instagram, which Facebook also owns, six months after it was announced.

"We are working to tackle vaccine misinformation on Facebook by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic," Facebook said in a statement.

Photo: Facebook

For Australian users, Facebook will provide a pop-up window offering to take them straight to the website for the World Health Organisation. The only Facebook pages that will appear in are those from expert medical resources or pro-vaccination pages.

For Instagram users who try to access hashtags with vaccine-related terms, they will be greeted with a link to U.S. Centres for Disease Control.

"Leading global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes," Facebook said.

Photo: Instagram

Action against anti-vaxxer groups and pages with misinformation is also being taken by the company. These will now be excluded from recommendations, reduce their visibility on News Feeds and in searches.

Even searching 'anti-vaxxer' will not allow anti-vaccination pages to be found on the site.

"We are exploring ways to give people more accurate information from expert organizations about vaccines at the top of results for related searches, on Pages discussing the topic, and on invitations to join groups about the topic," Facebook said.

Photo: Facebook

Facebook and Instagram are the latest social media platforms that are cracking down on misinformation on vaccinations.

READ MORE: We Need To Vaccinate Against The Anti-Vaxxing Message

READ MORE: Pinterest Is Weeding Out Vaccine Misinformation

Last week, Pinterest announced it would only show "reliable" search results relating to immunisations to reduce the sharing of health misinformation. It would also ban advertisements from these search terms.

"We believe a healthy life is an inspired life, and today we have an update on our efforts to combat health misinformation," it said in a statement.

The platform will work with medical professionals to add expert content to the site, and will remove misinformation that is posted and the accounts that share it.

Contact the authoer jdunne@networkten.com.au