Another day, another Facebook headache.
It seems that 2021 is turning into a banner year for bad news about the social media giant. Between user data landing on the dark web, a news blackout in Australia, and shunning SA’s parliament over misinformation issues on its platform, Facebook’s news cycle over the last six months makes a train wreck look appealing by comparison.
Now news has emerged from The Next Web (via The Markup’s Citizen Browser project (MCBP)) that in spite of making a pledge back in February this year to remove misinformation about vaccines from its platform – particularly around the COVID-19 pandemic – data from the MCBP shows that COVID-19 misinformation is very easy to find on the platform. Not only that, but the platform continues to recommend ‘health groups’, which include anti-vaccine groups and pages containing lies about the pandemic.
Facebook’s misinformation problem
According to the report on The Next Web, recommendations that were tracked through the Citizen Browser from November last year to the beginning of May 2021 through 3,156 Facebook users, clocked hundreds of groups recommended to panelists, including 31 groups or pages that contained anti-vaccine or anti-mask propaganda and misinformation about the pandemic.
Apparently some of these groups had been lying dormant for months but that didn’t stop Facebook pushing them towards the Citizen Browser panelists.
While the social media company has moved to remove misinformation about the pandemic from its site, The Next Web’s report makes for some pretty damning reading.