Tired of scrolling through YouTube or Pinterest and being bombarded with anti-vaccine theories and messages? You’re in luck, as both platforms are actively taken steps to reduce the amount of propaganda like this you see on a daily basis.
“We’re a place where people come to find inspiration, and there is nothing inspiring about harmful content,” said Ifeoma Ozoma, a public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest in an interview with The Guardian. “Our view on this is we’re not the platform for that.”
After a 2016 scientific study found that 75% of posts related to vaccines on their platform were negative, Pinterest swiftly updated their community guidelines to ban “promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses and anti-vaccination advice,” The Guardian reports.
So how exactly is Pinterest doing this? By blacklisting search terms like “vaccines” from the platform, along with sites that spread this sort of health misinformation. While it isn’t foolproof — as some content may still slip through the cracks — the site is confident that this is a good starting point.
YouTube has taken similar steps, implementing policies to regulate which videos ads can appear on. In a statement to Variety, the video sharing platform made it clear that videos promoting anti-vaccination content do not count.
“We enforce these policies vigorously, and if we find a video that violates them, we immediately take action and remove ads,” the statement says. In other words, creators making videos that circulate fake health news won’t make any money if YouTube can help it.
An overwhelming amount of scientific and medical evidence shows that vaccinations are both safe and effective at preventing disease outbreaks. Still, anti-vaccination misinformation continues to spread rapidly across the internet and social media platforms, including Facebook, which is being pressed by experts to block anti-vaccine groups and content on the site, The Guardian reports.