Facebook has announced policy updates to health groups on Facebook, saying it would no longer feature these pages in its recommendations.
The social network announced the updates on Thursday in a blog post, saying that the platform wants to ensure that its users get accurate health information.
“Facebook Groups, including health groups, can be a positive space for giving and receiving support during difficult life circumstances. At the same time, it’s crucial that people get their health information from authoritative sources,” wrote Tom Alison, Facebook’s vice president of engineering, in the blog post. “To prioritize connecting people with accurate health information, we are starting to no longer show health groups in recommendations.”
Facebook said that people will still be able to search for and invite their friends to health groups even if they don’t show up in their recommendations.
Posts containing misinformation about the coronavirus have been plaguing the platform since the beginning of the pandemic. Facebook revealed in its Community Standards Enforcement Report last month that it took down 7 million posts pushing misleading information about the coronavirus between April and June this year. These posts promoted fake preventative measures and exaggerated cures, so Thursday’s updates could be a response to the spread of coronavirus misinformation.
The updates could be seen as a snub to anti-vaccination groups on the platform. Facebook initially placed restrictions on anti-vaccination content last year by de-prioritizing content around exaggerated or misleading health claims about vaccines. Facebook also banned anti-vaccination ads at the beginning of last year.
Other updates Facebook announced to its groups policies on Thursday include removing groups tied to violence from its recommendations and restricting them from search. Facebook will also begin to archive groups without an admin, and restrict admins and moderators of groups taken down for policy violations from creating any new groups.
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