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Facebook calls report on few people spreading vaccine misinformation “faulty narrative”

Social media giants continue to face scrutiny owing to their inability to curb the spread of misinformation on its platform.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Facebook has slammed a recent report by London-based non-profit group Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), saying it lacks evidence on how CCDH identified 'anti-vax' content and that its report represents a “faulty narrative”.

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CCDH released a comprehensive report last month, which stated that only a dozen people are responsible for spreading majority of the vaccine misinformation online, especially on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The report also accused the social networks of neglecting to take action against the vaccine misinformation superspreaders.

“Facebook’s own internal analysis of vaccine hesitant content on its platform is likely to underestimate the influence of leading anti-vaxxers by failing to address the ultimate source of this content, and by the recorded failure of its algorithms to identify content concerning vaccines,” the report added.

Also Read | Facebook reverses stance, says it won’t ban ‘COVID-19 being man-made’ posts

Facebook has denied the claim stating there is no evidence to support the statements and that it has been successful in removing over three dozen pages, groups and accounts linked to the group of misinformation spreaders across its platforms.

The California-based company also stated that CCDH analysed only a narrow set of content that is “in no way representative of the hundreds of millions of posts that people have shared about COVID-19 vaccines in the past months”.

Also Read | Facebook to roll out vaccine finder tool on mobile app in India

The company said it has removed a total of over 3,000 accounts, pages and groups since the beginning of the pandemic, including more than 20 million pieces of content, for violating the platform’s rules.

“In recent weeks, there has been a debate about whether the global problem of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation can be solved simply by removing 12 people from social media platforms. There isn’t any evidence to support this claim. Moreover, focusing on such a small group of people distracts from the complex challenges we all face in addressing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines,” Facebook noted in a statement.

Social media giants continue to face scrutiny owing to their inability to curb the spread of misinformation on its platform. Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden called on social media firms to tighten regulation on misinformation in its platforms.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 3:08:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/facebook-calls-report-on-few-people-spreading-vaccine-misinformation-faulty-narrative/article35996921.ece

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