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Anti-wax propaganda has gone viral on Facebook. Pinterest has a cure | Technology

On Wednesday morning, Adam Schiff, the chair of the House intelligence committee, joined journalists around the world in a nascent Twitter meme : he searched "Vaccine" on Facebook and posted a screenshot of the results. Schiff's search results were indeed alarming: autofill suggestions for phrases such as "vaccination re-education discussion forum", a group called "Parents Against Vaccination", and the page for the National Vaccine Information Center, an official sounding organization that promotes anti-vaccine propaganda. And while search results on Facebook are personalized to each user, a recent Guardian report found similarly to results for a brand new account. If the contractor had tried to search "vaccines" on the rival social media site Pinterest, however, he would have had more than a blank white screen. Recognizing that search results for a number of related to vaccines were broken, Pinterest responded by "breaking" its own search tool. As pressure mounts on Facebook Dramatic approach to managing health information on social media "We have a place where people come to find inspiration, and there is nothing inspiring about harmful content, said Ifeoma Ozoma, a public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest. “Our view on this is not the platform for that.” Adam Schiff(@ RepAdamSchiff) Last week, I wrote to Facebook and Google to express my concern that their sites are steering users to bath information that discourages vaccinations, undermining public health. The search results you get for "vaccines" on Facebook are a dramatic illustration. pic.twitter.com/ZrEQfVTaRo February 20, 2019 This has not been…

On Wednesday morning, Adam Schiff, the chair of the House intelligence committee, joined journalists around the world in a nascent Twitter meme : he searched “Vaccine” on Facebook and posted a screenshot of the results.

Schiff’s search results were indeed alarming: autofill suggestions for phrases such as “vaccination re-education discussion forum”, a group called “Parents Against Vaccination”, and the page for the National Vaccine Information Center, an official sounding organization that promotes anti-vaccine propaganda. And while search results on Facebook are personalized to each user, a recent Guardian report found similarly to results for a brand new account.

If the contractor had tried to search “vaccines” on the rival social media site Pinterest, however, he would have had more than a blank white screen. Recognizing that search results for a number of related to vaccines were broken, Pinterest responded by “breaking” its own search tool.

As pressure mounts on Facebook Dramatic approach to managing health information on social media

“We have a place where people come to find inspiration, and there is nothing inspiring about harmful content, said Ifeoma Ozoma, a public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest. “Our view on this is not the platform for that.”

Adam Schiff
(@ RepAdamSchiff)

Last week, I wrote to Facebook and Google to express my concern that their sites are steering users to bath information that discourages vaccinations, undermining public health.

The search results you get for “vaccines” on Facebook are a dramatic illustration. pic.twitter.com/ZrEQfVTaRo

February 20, 2019

This has not been the case. The visual social network faced scrutiny in 2016 after a scientific study found that 75% of posts related to vaccines were negative. The next year, Pinterest updated its “community guidelines” to explicitly promote “promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses and anti-vaccination advice” under a broader policy against misinformation safety ”

The policy change made way for Pinterest to deploy a number of technological approaches to combating anti-wax propaganda. The company has banned boards by a number of prominent anti-vaccine propagandists, including the National Vaccine Information Center and Larry Cook, who runs the website and Facebook group “Stop Mandatory Vaccination”.

But retroactive enforcement of content rules is just one aspect of the company’s approach.

Take search results. The phenomenon on display in the Facebook search result screenshots is known in technology circles as a “data void”, after a paper by the Data & Society founder and researcher danah boyd. For certain search terms, boyd explains, “the available relevant data is limited, non-existent, or deeply problematic.”

about settled science has left a void for conspiracy theorists and fraudsters to fill with fear-mongering propaganda and misinformation.

“Addressing data voids cannot be achieved by removing problematic content, not only because removal might go against the goals of search engines but also because doing so would not be effective, ”wrote. “Without high-quality content to replace removed content, new malicious content can easily surface.”

Pinterest has responded to building a “blacklist” or “polluted” search terms.

“We are doing our best to remove bad content, but we know that there is bad content that we haven’t gotten to yet, ”said Ifeoma Ozoma, a public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest. “We don´t want to surface that with search terms like‘ cancer cure ’or‘ suicide ’. We hope that we can move from breaking the site to surfacing only good content. Until then, this is preferable. ”Pinterest also includes health misinformation images in its“ hash bank ”, preventing users from re-pinning anti-wax memes that have already been reported and taken down. (Hashing is a technology that applies a unique digital identifier to images and videos; it has been widely used to prevent the spread of child abuse images and terrorist content.)

19659006] “If there is a website that is dedicated to spreading health misinformation, we do not want that on our platform, so we can block on the URL level,” Ozoma said.

Users simply cannot “pin” a link to StopMandatoryVaccinations.com or the alternative health sites Mercola.com, HealthNutNews.com and or GreedMedInfo.com; if they try, they receive an error message stating “Invalid parameters”

Pinterest is at no means misinformation-free. The Guardian was able to find anti-vaccine propaganda on the site at searching various terms that had not been blacklisted, such as “MMR”, the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Ozoma said that one challenge was the amount or anti-wax material that gets cross-posted from what she describes as “large social media platforms and large video platforms”, rather than from independent websites, because Pinterest doesn’t want to cut off all cross-posting of content or YouTube.

“We’ve been working on this since 2017, but we’ve been child of alone on it. Hopefully there is more discussion going forward. ”

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