Facebook is committed to encouraging vaccination. Social networks in general are accused of spreading intox, infox and misinformation campaigns about vaccines, and thus contributing to the upsurge of diseases against polio or measles. On the occasion of the Brussels Vaccination Summit, Facebook is committed to sending people to reliable sources.
from our correspondent in Dublin,
You can do the test, if you type " vaccine " or " vaccination " in the search bar of Facebook. You will see very few results, and especially a banner: " In terms of health, everyone wants reliable and up-to-date information. Find out why the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccination .
If you click on the banner, you land directly on the WHO website. This is Facebook's new action against so - called " anti-vaxx " content , opposed to vaccination. In the spring, Mark Zuckerberg's network had already committed to reducing the visibility of publications and groups spreading false information on the subject.
So, this test bar search works in all countries where Facebook is available. But if you type for example measles or tetanus, two diseases against which there are vaccines, the filter does not apply and you can even easily fall on not very reliable content.
Last social network to tackle the subject
Facebook is also one of the last social networks to take this kind of measure. In the spring, Pinterest and Twitter have already taken similar steps, to send back to government or institutional sites. In the case of Pinterest, the search is downright blocked. You can not see content from other users and talking about vaccines.
On Twitter, users can still view tweets and profiles but after reading a banner pointing to a " reliable " site. This update, however, is only available in five countries, Brazil, South Korea, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
A particular echo in Ireland
In Ireland, these pro-vaccination or rather anti-disinformation actions are particularly echoed. The announcement at the immunization summit was widely echoed by television news. Earlier this month, the Minister of Health sent an open letter to social networks, headquartered in Ireland. Simon Harris called them to " pick their side " in the information war. It must be said that Ireland is about to lose its status as a country that has eliminated measles.
And then there is the story that moved Ireland at the beginning of the year, Laura Brennan's. This young woman succumbed to cervical cancer in March, at the age of 26. As a reminder, there is a vaccine against the papillomavirus , which causes this type of cancer. At the announcement of the diagnosis, Laura Brennan engaged on social networks to encourage users to get vaccinated. His brother, Fergal, spoke at the immunization summit to show social networks that they could act and the Irish health service launched a campaign on the subject.
"Prevention is better than cure & prevention is definitely better than no cure" - Bernie Brennan.
Laura Brennan: This is the HPV vaccine advocate's final months in March. It will be air on @rte on Monday 16th September at 9.30. # ThankYouLaura pic.twitter.com/ISzWNbFKh9
Since the start of Laura's campaign on social networks, the vaccination rate of Irish women against HPV has increased from 50 to 70%.