MENLO PARK, Cali. — Last spring, false claims about vaccine safety threatened to undermine the world’s response to COVID-19.
Researchers at Facebook found they could reduce vaccine misinformation by tweaking how vaccine posts showed up in newsfeeds. Yet, despite evidence that it worked, the company took a full month to implement the changes at a pivotal time in the global vaccine roll out.
The company’s own documents also revealed how comments on posts are a hot bed for anti-vaccine messages. When another researcher suggested disabling comments on posts, the idea was ignored.
These revelations were contained in disclosures by a former Facebook employee-turned whistleblower. Company officials say they’ve made “considerable progress” with downgrading vaccine misinformation in newsfeeds.