Documents show that Facebook bungled early management of anti-vaccine content and ignored staff.


Documents show that Facebook bungled early management of anti-vaccine content and ignored staff.

In March, when incorrect information regarding COVID-19 vaccines began to surface online, Facebook research employees thought they could assist eliminate disinformation on the platform.

Researchers wanted to change how posts were ranked in consumers’ news feeds, and they wanted to include posts from reputable sources like the World Health Organization. According to records obtained by the Associated Press, they even advised turning off comments on deceptive vaccine posts, although their suggestions were ignored at first when presented to officials.

Despite the fact that firm employees were ecstatic about the study, there was a delay in taking action.

In response to an internal document explaining how Facebook could rein in anti-vaccine information, one Facebook employee replied, “Is there any reason we wouldn’t do this?”

According to an internal document leaked by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, Facebook ignored the staff and took a long time to apply the study’s conclusions.

The delay, according to Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, an internet watchdog group, was caused by the company’s concern of losing money.

“Why don’t you delete the comments? Because the only thing that matters is involvement, “Ahmed stated. “It gets people’s attention, which equals eyeballs, which equals ad income.” When they were first testing their theory, Facebook employees in Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States changed the post ranks of over 6,000 users in Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States, so that users saw vaccine posts based on trustworthiness rather than popularity.

The study found a 7% decrease in unfavorable interactions on the website, a 12% decrease in disproved pieces, and an 8% rise in content from credible public health groups.

See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.

The internal materials “do not represent the significant progress we have achieved since that time in disseminating reliable information on COVID-19 and increasing our policies to remove further harmful COVID and vaccine misinformation,” according to company spokeswoman Dani Lever.

The corporation also stated that considering and implementing the adjustments required time.

The necessity to act quickly, however, has never been clearer: Vaccines were being distributed to the elderly and sick in states across the United States at the time. Officials from the Department of Public Health were concerned. Only 10% of the population had got their first COVID-19 vaccination dosage.

One-third. This is a condensed version of the information.


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