Pinterest drops vaccination search results in push against fake news

Brittany A. Roston - Feb 22, 2019, 6:13 pm CST
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Pinterest drops vaccination search results in push against fake news

Pinterest is no longer offering search results related to vaccinations in an effort to reduce the spread of misinformation. The issue revolves around anti-vaccination content, which accounts for the majority of vaccine-related content found on the sharing platform. The move follows a previous attempt by the company to remove the anti-vaxxer pins, which was unsuccessful.

Anti-vaxxer propaganda has become a huge problem in multiple countries and social media is largely blame for the rise in its adherents. Misinformation shared through various social media platforms presents viewers with various claims, including the common “vaccines cause autism” myth.

Some platforms have been used to form echo chambers, including Facebook, which has faced backlash from critics who want the company to remove private anti-vaxxer groups. Some of these pages have tens of thousands of followers who are isolated within the privacy of a closed group and therefore less likely to have their beliefs challenged.

Pinterest allows users to create and share “pins” that contain — and sometimes also link to — various content. The service has faced the spread of misinformation related to vaccinations on its platform, which it had attempted to remove. According to WSJ, Pinterest wasn’t able to purge all anti-vaxxer content and has instead implemented a search ban related to the topic.

The search ban went live at some point in late 2018, though it has only recently been disclosed. This is a temporary measure, according to the report, that gives Pinterest more time to come up with a different solution. Pins related to vaccinations remain live on users’ boards and can still be viewed directly; it’s simply harder to find them now with the search ban.


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