Over the past few months, Facebook has been hard at work removing conspiracy theories and fake news from its platform. In October, it banned groups and pages associated to QAnon, put a stop to posts that denied the Holocaust, and also prohibited ads that discourage vaccinations. With news about the COVID-19 vaccine starting to emerge recently, the company is going one step further and will now also be removing false claims related to potential vaccines.
The new policy will apply to both Facebook and Instagram. Any fake news related to COVID-19 vaccines such as their components, performance, and side-effects will be promptly removed from the platforms. Public health experts who debunk these claims will be utilized as the source of truth. The company claims that rampant misinformation on its digital platforms can lead to physical harm which is why it has decided to take this step. It went on to say that:
We will also remove conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines that we know today are false: like specific populations are being used without their consent to test the vaccine’s safety. We will not be able to start enforcing these policies overnight. Since it’s early and facts about COVID-19 vaccines will continue to evolve, we will regularly update the claims we remove based on guidance from public health authorities as they learn more.
As the statement above highlights, this will be a gradual process that will hopefully improve with time. So if you want to propagate conspiracy theories about how Bill Gates will be using the vaccine to implant microchips in our bodies, you're better off utilizing platforms other than Facebook and Instagram.