Facebook targets vaccine misinformation superspreaders in ban spree

Facebook has announced a recent crackdown against a dozen accounts that were responsible for 'superspreading' misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. The removal also included bans on Pages and groups related to COVID-19 misinformation and the 'superspreaders' who were cited in a recent study about how fake news has spread online during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, a study was published that claimed a mere 12 individuals were responsible for most of the misleading COVID-19 vaccine information spread through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Facebook talks about the study as part of its new announcement, first alleging that "there isn't any evidence to support this claim."

However, the social media company says that it has deleted the accounts, as well as any groups and Pages, linked to the 12 users cited in the study. Beyond that, Facebook says that it has penalized around two dozen other groups, Pages, and accounts associated with these users.

Because they've been penalized, the groups, Pages, and accounts won't show up as high in the News Feed. Circling back around the aforementioned study, Facebook counters the claims by saying that the 12 people targeted by these actions were behind only 0.05-percent of the "views on vaccine-related content on Facebook."

As part of its statement, Facebook explained:

Focusing on these 12 individuals misses the forest for the trees ... Since the beginning of the pandemic across our entire platform, we have removed over 3,000 accounts, Pages and groups for repeatedly violating our rules against spreading COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation and removed more than 20 million pieces of content for breaking these rules