Facebook should close down anti-vaccination pages and groups.

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Facebook groups act as an echo chamber for vaccine myths and misconceptions, endangering our population.

There are hundreds of anti-vaccine groups on Facebook, all acting as echo-chambers, reinforcing vaccine myths and reinforcing these ideas with no scientific or medical basis.

Worldwide we are seeing vaccination rates drop and some diseases are re-emerging. There are measles outbreaks in the US and France, where vaccination rates are particularly low in certain areas.

If anyone joins these anti-vaccine groups and presents an argument using the weight of scientific and medical consensus, they are first ridiculed, then blocked. This only continues to damage science in the eyes of parents who are listening to these myths and ignoring their doctors.

Because Facebook is providing these closed, festering locations for these misconceptions to grow and strengthen, it is Facebook that is best placed to take action.

Facebook has a social responsibility to ensure fake news is not spread. Vaccine myths are fake news and only serve to damage the reputation of science and medicine in society.

Facebook must remove these groups immediately.

UPDATE: 

On 7 March 2019 Facebook announced it would remove anti-vaccine groups from search results and reject any ads which contain vaccine misinformation.

This is a great step forward and will make a real difference. However, with the groups and pages remaining we still have the echo chamber effect. There are still hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of people in these groups who will still be subject to harmful misinformation and will still be able to share the content across social media.

Until the groups and pages are removed, the echo chamber effect remains and vaccine misinformation is fortified.

Facebook, remove these groups and pages.


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