“Unchecked Algorithms” Spreading Anti-Vaxx Misinformation On Facebook: Report

APRIL 8, 2018: Phone sitting on laptop with Facebook desktop site reflecting on screen. The social media giant's stock has dipped sharply since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
SHARE
THIS



Facebook’s algorithm has been called into question, with a new report suggesting the platform is sharing anti-vax and other conspiracy groups to certain users.

The report, which has been compiled by NewsGuard, found that when users ‘like’ and anti-vaccine page on Facebook, they are recommended with similar pages through the ‘Recommended Pages’ tool, which publish information about COVID-19, masks, 5G, and other health topics.

While Facebook has built algorithms that are designed to help users access groups and content related to their interests, this report suggests these same algorithms could be contributing to the spread of misinformation.

The report has drawn criticism this morning from Australian advocacy group Reset Australia.

“Social media’s unchecked algorithms are supercharging conspiracy theories and misinformation, pushing some people into echo chambers where false information is all they see,” said Reset Australia executive director Chris Cooper.

“Rampant misinformation on social media is compounding challenges in Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Genuine health concerns are being hi-jacked by anti-vaxx groups to stoke vaccine hesitancy and resistance.”

Reset Australia has also found through its own research that Australian engagement with anti-vaxx groups on Facebook has surged by 280 per cent during the pandemic.

Despite these findings, Facebook has made a concerted effort to stop the flow of misinformation on the platform during the pandemic.

Facebook’s VP Integrity Guy Rosen recently revealed the tech giant had removed 18 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram globally for violating policies on COVID-19-related misinformation and harm since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

Facebook is also reducing the distribution of content that does not violate guidelines but might discourage someone from getting vaccinated.

“We are reviewing the report and will take action against Pages or Groups that violate our policies. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have removed 18 million pieces of COVID misinformation, labelled over 167 million pieces of false content, and connected over 2 billion people with authoritative information through tools like our COVID Information Centre,” Facebook told B&T.

A company spokesperson also pointed out that 6.2million Australians have now visited authoritative information through Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Centre.

Please login with linkedin to comment

covid Facebook misinformation vaccine

Latest News

72andSunny Unveils First Campaign For Plant-Based Drink Brand Australia’s Own
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

72andSunny Unveils First Campaign For Plant-Based Drink Brand Australia’s Own

Freedom Foods and 72andSunny Sydney have launched the first advertising campaign for Australia’s Own range of plant-based beverages. The campaign introduces a new visual world and identity for the brand and captures the healthy, positive feeling you get when spending time in nature and when consuming Australia’s Own certified-organic, plant-based beverages. As well as featuring […]

Are You Paying Too Much In Search Marketing?
  • Partner Content

Are You Paying Too Much In Search Marketing?

Are you paying too much for search marketing? Discover the awful truth here. Or, alternatively, look at the invoice.

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Nine APAC Finalists In One Club’s Young Guns 19 Competition
  • Advertising

Nine APAC Finalists In One Club’s Young Guns 19 Competition

Nine creatives from APAC are among the 94 finalists from 27 countries in The One Club for Creativity’s prestigious Young Guns 19 competition, celebrating international creative professionals age 30 or younger. The finalists from APAC are: Hiu Ching Kung, graphic designer, Hong Kong Lam Ieong Kun, graphic designer, illustrator, indego design, Macau Raxenne Maniquiz, graphic designer, illustrator, Santa Maria (Philippines) Kiyotaka […]

Adflow’s Regional OOH Coverage Expands By 60%
  • Media

Adflow’s Regional OOH Coverage Expands By 60%

OOH transit company Adflow has announced the success of the first phase of its regional expansion program. Adflow’s regional footprint has increased by 60 per cent to now include 65 regional locations. With 9.1 million people living regionally in Australia (growth of 1.1 per cent experienced in the 19/20 Financial year) and most regional centres […]

Freshworks Starts Trading On Nasdaq, Valued at $13.7 Billion
  • Technology

Freshworks Starts Trading On Nasdaq, Valued at $13.7 Billion

Freshworks, a leading software company, has started trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, marking an important milestone for the company. The company priced its IPO at US$36 per share (AU$49.76), raising about US$1 billion (AU$1.4B), resulting in a total market capitalisation of AU$13.7 billion  (US$10B). Freshworks, which was founded in India, has strong roots […]

SLIK Announces Four New Key Hires
  • Marketing
  • Media

SLIK Announces Four New Key Hires

Independent creative agency, SLIK, has made significant changes to its full service creative offering with four hires across management, creative and production.

How Retailers Can Maximise Their Results This Sales Season
  • Marketing
  • Technology

How Retailers Can Maximise Their Results This Sales Season

Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) is the biggest player in the holiday shopping game and Google’s most recent research suggests consumer interest for the peak sales season starts much earlier than retailers may realise. The pandemic has fundamentally changed buyer behaviour over peak sales season, with Google suggesting that global consumer interest in Black Friday […]