Instagram blocks anti-vaxxer hashtags in the crackdown on fake medical news on the social media site
- Instagram bosses said they would minimize the "recommendations of this content"
- "Short term measures" include blocking hashtags such as #vaccinescauseautism
- But the ban may take several weeks before it comes into force
Instagram will block anti-vaxx hashtags in an effort to combat medical misinformation that is shared on the social media site.
The company owned by Facebook has announced that it will minimize the "recommendations of this content and the accounts that publish it".
"Short-term measures" include blocking hashtags associated with "known misleading health information", including #vaccinescauseautism, #vaccinesarepoison and #vaccinescausharm.
However, a spokesman for the social media giant warned that it will take several weeks for the move to take effect, as these hashtags are still active on Instagram today.
Vaccines are one of the greatest advances in modern medicine, transforming life-threatening diseases that could reach epidemic proportions.
The spread of misinformation online has been blamed on the "anti-vaxx brigade", considered one of the biggest threats to public health in the world.
Instagram promises to fight against medical misinformation by blocking anti-vaxx publications (stock)
In the photo, an article that appears under the search #vaccinescauseallergies
Vaccination-related fears gained momentum following a study by disgraced gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine could lead to autism in 1995.
His controversial views have since been widely discredited and Wakefield has been written off, but vaccination rates have dropped as a result of the study.
An Instagram spokesperson said in a statement, "As part of our work to combat health misinformation on Instagram, we are looking for ways to minimize the recommendations of this content and accounts posted on Instagram." .
& # 39;[This includes] in "Suggested for you", Explorer and hashtags.
"We noted that this process would take several weeks.
"But taking short-term action, we know that fighting misinformation is a long-term commitment."
While the search for anti-vaxx content always brings a lot of results, Instagram managers insist on clicking on a hashtag blocked to bring users to a blank page without results.
This comes after Facebook announced earlier this month that it would limit the anti-vaxx misinformation of its groups, pages, and news feeds.
Adam Schiff, US representative of California's 28th congressional district in California, urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to spread false anti-jab information on these platforms. .
Schiff said the algorithms showed that Facebook and Google, the owner of YouTube, were promoting anti-vaxx messages.
In another crackdown on the anti-vaxx squad, Facebook banned ads that included "misinformation about vaccines," according to a blog post published by the social media giant.
Last November, a controversial advertisement was banned on Facebook for claiming that all shots could potentially kill a child.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the message paid by Stop Mandatory Vaccination was "painful" and "misleading".
And YouTube has announced that it will no longer recommend anti-jab videos to its users.
Lawyers and public health experts lobbied the Facebook-owned company for not doing enough to stop the anti-vaxx squad. In the photo, a controversial article questions the safety of injections when users search for vaccines.
In the photo, another anti-vaxx article that Instagram users can easily find via the search bar
The United States is at the heart of a measles epidemic that has hit 15 states and seems to be fueled by a growing anti-vaccine sentiment.
Social media has helped the movement to gain momentum, with anti-vaxxers often leaving many comments to oppose the scientifically proven preventive measure.
For vaccines to protect a population against disease, between 90 and 95% of this group must have been vaccinated.
But in 2017, just 70% of American toddlers aged 19 to 35 months had received all the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And while the UK remains a world leader in immunization coverage, rates fell in nine of the 12 routine childhood vaccinations in England, according to the figures.
IS THE DISCRETE AUTISM SEARCH FROM ANDREW WAKEFIELD ADMINISTERED AT LIBRARY VACCINATION RATES?
The discredited research of Andrew Wakefield has long been held responsible for a drop in the measles vaccination rate
In 1995, Gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet showing that children immunized against MMR were more likely to have bowel disease and autism.
He hypothesized that the injection of a "dead" form of the measles virus by vaccination causes disruption of the intestinal tissue, resulting in both disorders.
After a 1998 article confirming this conclusion, Wakefield said: "The risk of this particular syndrome [what Wakefield termed ‘autistic enterocolitis’] development is linked to the combined vaccine, MMR, rather than simple vaccines. & # 39;
At the time, Wakefield had a patent for single vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella and was therefore accused of conflict of interest.
Nevertheless, MMR vaccination rates in the United States and the United Kingdom have fallen. In 2004, The Lancet editor Richard Horton called Wakefield's research "fundamentally flawed," adding that he had been paid by a group suing vaccine manufacturers.
The Lancet officially withdrew Wakefield's research paper in 2010.
Three months later, the General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practicing medicine in Britain, claiming that his research had shown "total disregard" for children's health.
On January 6, 2011, the British Medical Journal released a report showing that of the 12 children included in the Wakefield study in 1995, at most two had autistic symptoms after vaccination, instead of eight that he declared.
At least two of the children also had developmental delays before being vaccinated, but Wakefield's paper claimed that they were all "previously normal."
Other discoveries revealed that no children were suffering from autism, nonspecific colitis or symptoms a few days after receiving the MMR vaccine. Yet, the study claimed that six of the participants had undergone all three.