The announcement by Facebook that it will no longer allow anti-vaccine advertisements on its platform is welcome as measles cases surge in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and double in Europe. But this measure alone is not enough to address the growing global spread of “vaccine hesitancy” and rising rates of disease and death caused by undervaccination.
Facebook has pledged to address some of the amplifying algorithms and other technical mechanisms that inflate and cluster misleading information. The company also says it is exploring ways to give users more context about vaccines from “expert organizations” — a positive step for those of us focused on the communication of science-based facts.
However, the answer to combating today’s currents of vaccine dissent is far more complex than addressing the needed technical fixes and must be part of a wider effort involving multiple partners, including citizens. If the moves of tech companies are perceived as censorship, they may only harden the views of those who feel they already have no voice.