Brussels Editorial Office
July 24, 2021 at 12:33 pm
Despite a commitment to combating fake news related to the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook isn’t doing enough to crack No Vax Pages, in fact, it continues to serve them to users, causing them to spread. It’s the accusation at the end Report on NewsGuard It sent to the global organization that the social media giant had not taken any action against pages and groups that were found to be spreading misinformation about health.
In the study, a NewsGuard analyst simply “liked” one Facebook page, at which point the Facebook dropdown suggested several more pages to combat the purge. In about ten minutes, the analyst recommended dozens of pages spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines, each with thousands of followers, as the report denounced. For example, after the “I like” the “Vaxxed Truth” page, a drop-down list appeared recommending other pages spreading misinformation about vaccines, Covid-19, face masks, 5G technology, and other health topics. With each “Like”, all of these new pages had their own dropdown menu recommending other pages. On some pages identified by NewsGuard, a sidebar advised users of other misleading information pages.
“Facebook has taken no action against Pages and Groups that have been shown to spread health misinformation,” attacked the organization, which was founded in March 2018 by media entrepreneur Stephen Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovits. Under the terms of the partnership announced in August 2020, NewsGuard in previous reports had already reported Facebook pages and groups that had shared misinformation about health issues to the World Health Organization. Many of these pages and groups remain active, growing, and visible to billions of Facebook users, with no warning about their unreliability.
Examples of misinformation authorized to be disseminated across these groups and pages include false claims that Covid-19 vaccines have killed millions of people and false claims that masks, PCR and spacing tests, and vaccines “do not work.” Two of the Pages featured in NewsGuard’s report in June alone had 4,000 and 2,500 followers, respectively. The World Health Organization has described the rampant misinformation on social media platforms that exposed many people to false content about the virus, including false claims about vaccine risks, as “epidemic.”
“Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover.”