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06 Sep 2019

Social media company Pinterest has announced it will only show information from health organisations on its platform when people search for information about vaccines.

It is doing this, it says, to help counter misinformation being distributed by anti-vax campaigners.

Searches on Pinterest for words and terms such as “measles” and “vaccine safety” will now only bring up results from credible health organisations.

“We’re taking this approach because we believe that showing vaccine misinformation alongside resources from public health experts isn't responsible,” the San Francisco-based Pinterest said in a post.

Pinterest has previously tried blocking all searches for vaccines with varying results, but now it will completely block anti-vax sites. It won’t even show ads or other users’ posts on the issue, in order to prevent misinformation being spread that way.

The World Health Organisation has applauded the move, saying misinformation about vaccines is as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread.

“WHO welcomes Pinterest’s leadership in protecting public health by only providing evidence-based information about vaccines to its users,” it said in a statement.

“We hope to see other social media platforms around the world following Pinterest’s lead. Misinformation about vaccination has spread far and fast on social media platforms in many different countries, including during critical vaccination campaigns like those for polio in Pakistan or yellow fever in South America.

“Social media platforms are the way many people get their information and they will likely be major sources of information for the next generations of parents. We see this as a critical issue and one that needs our collective effort to protect people’s health and lives.“The truth is, vaccines work. Smallpox has been eradicated thanks to vaccines, and vaccines have brought us to the brink of eradicating polio. Rates of many other diseases including measles have been dramatically reduced thanks to the life-saving power of vaccines.”

 


Published: 06 Sep 2019