Facebook has introduced two updates in order to minimize misleading health content on its platform. While these two updates were in actions since last month, Facebook officially announced their presence on Tuesday through its Newsroom post.
However, it isn’t first time that a company is taking measure to curb news which sensationalizes false heath cures which often put people’s health in danger (and sometime even prove to be fatal).
One such incident was related to Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), which was basically chlorine dioxide, which claimed to cure autism and was supposedly responsible for two deaths. YouTube was the first company to take action on the viral videos on MMS, which were viewed by millions, by removing them and channels posting these videos. Amazon followed its footsteps and removed pro-MMS and anti-vaccination books from its platform.
While Facebook might not be able to ban misleading health content all at once, the new updates strive to minimize them. The first update addresses posts which exaggerates claims about miracle cures and other misleading health cures. On the other hand, the second update will cope with posts that promotes products and services which are based on health-related claims.
These algorithm changes are similar to the ones that were introduced three years ago to reduce clickbait news. Those updates encompassed a wide array of posts as well as languages.
Facebook’s News Feed update will handle misleading health news “by identifying phrases that were commonly used in these posts to predict which posts might include sensational health claims or promotion of products with health-related claims” and place these posts lower in the Feed. This sure will help avoid such posts if not totally eliminate them.
It should be noted that these changes won’t be affecting individual posts. Content from Facebook Pages only is bound to be affected by these updates. This does count as a downside to the updates but we can hope Facebook will find a way to curb individual posts that promote “miracle” cures and other such misleading content.
In its announcement post, Facebook said, pages should “avoid posts about health that exaggerate or mislead people and posts that try to sell products using health-related claims.” Pages which stop posting such content won’t be affected by the new updates.
I’m a physics major and a writer. My interests include theoretical physics, applied mathematics and advanced tech.