As the “fake news” phenomenon continues to sweep across the Web, and the purge of independent media accelerates, lawmakers are calling on Facebook and Big Tech to take responsibility for anti-vaccine messaging that appears on their platform(s).
According to a new report at Geek.com, lawmakers such as Adam Schiff (D-CA) are blaming the measles outbreak in the U.S. on social media systems that offer anti-vaccine messaging in their “recommended reading and groups” areas. Schiff would like Big Tech to step up and combat exposure to the information, according to a letter he sent directly to the heads of Google and Facebook. Geek.com cites Bloomberg:
“There is strong evidence to suggest that at least part of the source of this trend is the degree to which medically inaccurate information about vaccines surface on the websites where many Americans get their information,” Schiff wrote in the letter. “The algorithms which power these services are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues.”
Facebook responded to Schiff’s letter and told Bloomberg in a statement that it’s “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem.” These next steps might include minimizing or reducing false anti-vaccine content from recommendations, including Facebook’s Groups You Should Join, and giving them a lower ranking in Facebook search results. Additionally, Facebook will step up its fake news policing to ensure more authoritative information is available on its social network site.
Legitimate scientific inquiry into the dangers and/or validity of vaccination is by now voluminous and certainly well known to readers of independent media. Evidently, the fact that a level playing field of information — which is exactly what the Internet was promised to be — is skewing toward anti-vaccination (and other holistic healing) must be worrying to those who rely on the financial support of Big Pharma and establishment medicine.
The fact of the matter is that once someone learns the truth, there is no going back to sleep. The urge to share one’s awareness that is intended to help others who are still unaware is a powerful one. It is,