The social media network Pinterest has taken a major step to clamp down on misleading information on its site relating to vaccinations. Indeed, it took a draconian step by removing search results on the issue and announcing it would no longer return them either in favor or against vaccinations.
Other platforms have been affected by a storm of posts spreading misleading information about vaccinations, and the Advertising Standards Authority has already taken acted over a paid-for Facebook advert warning parents that vaccines could “kill your child”. It found the post had caused undue distress and that the group Stop Mandatory Vaccination had made unsubstantiated claims.
Childhood vaccines are commonplace, guarding against once widespread diseases such as measles, but the activity has been criticized by activist groups. Many are influenced by an alleged link between the multiple MMR vaccine against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. The vaccine was linked to autism in the 1990s after the respected medical journal The Lancet published a paper by Andrew Wakefield which it later retracted. Dr. Wakefield has been struck off by the British Medical Association.
World Health Organization
False information about vaccines can have a serious effect on public health, and consequently, there are strict rules about how they are stored, using medical refrigeration systems found at sites such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/medical-refrigeration.
Indeed, the World Health Organization has said that vaccine hesitancy is one of the ten major threats to world health.
Pinterest has taken the decision to block searches because it found it difficult to entirely remove anti-vaccine content, but it confirmed it is still working on a permanent strategy on the issue. The company has previously tackled false information on cancer cures and has had a medical misinformation strategy in place since 2017.
With claims of 250m users each month, Pinterest is an influential platform, although it has fewer followers than Twitter, Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram as well as the Google-owned YouTube.
The rivals are already acting on anti-vaccine information, although Pinterest is the first platform to activate a block on the misleading posts.
Although there are concerns about side effects, the cost and religious objections to vaccines, the evidence of misinformation on major internet sites is a concern for public health organizations. Opponents of the posts have said fake news is fake medicine.