September 05, 2019
1 min read

Facebook, Instagram to promote CDC, WHO vaccine information

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Facebook and Instagram will begin prompting users to visit the web sites of the CDC and WHO for credible vaccine information.

A Facebook spokesperson told Infectious Diseases in Children that the company was taking steps to provide users more context about vaccines. Pop-up windows will appear with vaccine-related searches on Facebook, on Facebook groups and pages that discuss vaccines, invitations to join Facebook groups that discuss vaccines and if someone uses a vaccine-related hashtag on Instagram in the search, feed, explore or profile functions. Facebook owns Instagram.

Users in the United States will be directed to the CDC for vaccine information, and users outside the U.S. will be directed to WHO.

“We know that parents often turn to social media to access health information and connect with other parents, and it can be difficult to determine what is accurate and who the credible sources of information are,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund told Infectious Diseases in Children. “Fortunately, these companies recognize CDC’s commitment to providing trustworthy vaccine information and are helping users connect to CDC for questions they may have about vaccines.”

Photo of cell phones displaying social media information about vaccines 
Source: Facebook

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, MSc, commended the company’s efforts to improve access to information provided by WHO in several languages.

“Vaccine misinformation is a major threat to global health that could reverse decades of progress made in tackling preventable diseases,” Tedros said.

Earlier this year, YouTube stopped allowing channels that promoted anti-vaccine content to collect revenue from advertising and prevented future advertising on any anti-vaccine content. Pinterest also began blocking searches for vaccine-related content in an effort to limit the spread of misinformation on the platform.

“Major digital organizations have a responsibility to their users to ensure that they can access facts about vaccines and health,” Tedros said. “It would be great to see social and search platforms come together to leverage their combined reach.” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosures: Nordlund and Tedros report no relevant financial disclosures.