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September 04, 2019

Facebook debuts new measure to halt spread of vaccine misinformation

A popup window directs anyone searching 'vaccine' to the CDC

Children's Health Vaccines
Facebook Vaccine Info Screenshot/

Facebook debuted pop-up windows, like the one above, that link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They appear when users search for vaccine information.

New pop-up windows are linking users to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they search for vaccine information on the Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.

The effort is aimed at preventing the spread of vaccine misinformation, according to

The first result for all U.S. Facebook and and Instagram users who search "vaccine" or related terms and hashtags will be a window noting the CDC has reliable, updated information regarding vaccines. The window also includes a link to the CDC's website.

RELATED STORY: As medical misinformation infects the internet, doctors seek a cure

International users will see a similar pop-up window, but be directed to the World Health Organization.

Medical experts have decried the influence of so-called anti-vaxxers online, attributing recent surges in preventable diseases, like measles, to declining vaccination rates. Additionally, WHO listed vaccine hesitancy among its top global health threats.

In March, Facebook announced that it would take action against groups or pages that post any vaccine hoaxes identified by WHO or CDC. Facebook vowed to exclude the entire group or page from its recommendations and reduce its distribution in its News Feed and Search functions.

In May, Instagram – owned by Facebook – began blocking any hashtags that consistently contain posts spreading vaccine misinformation.

Last week, Pinterest announced it would only provide vaccine search results from bona fide health organizations.

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