Facebook said the vaccine’s “hesitation” was waning in the United States and other countries on Wednesday, recognizing its efforts to filter out misinformation and promote authoritative intelligence to aid the trend.
When it released its quarterly transparency report, Facebook said the latest data showed that vaccination reluctance among US users of the social network has decreased by 50 percent, with significant declines in other countries.
The news comes a month after a public dispute between Facebook and the White House after President Joe Biden alleged Facebook was killing people by allowing vaccine misinformation to be spread.
Facebook said it removed about 20 million pieces of content, issued warnings for millions more, and suspended 3,000 accounts for violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy, while also connecting users to reliable sources of health information.
“We focus on results that we believe are the right way to evaluate the bottom line,” Guy Rosen, Facebook vice president of integrity, told reporters.
“For example, vaccine reluctance among people in the US has decreased by 50 percent on Facebook, and we have similarly seen vaccine ratings increase around the world.”
The data comes from a long-term survey of Facebook users that was carried out with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland.
“That’s all moving in the right direction,” he said.
Rosen found that 18 million people have used Facebook’s profile frames to support vaccines.
“Most importantly, people see their friends and family support the vaccinations,” he said.
Facebook said its machine learning tools continue to make strides in filtering inappropriate content like hate speech.
Rosen said the prevalence of infringing content – which Facebook claims is the best way to measure its effectiveness at filtering – was just 0.05 percent in the second quarter of the year.
That’s the equivalent of five inappropriate content per 1,000 views, he noted.
“Prevalence is our primary metric … it’s important because it doesn’t capture what we ingested, but what we missed and what people ultimately saw,” said Rosen.
Facebook did not include data on the prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation as it is a rapidly evolving landscape.
“We now have more than 65 specific claims that we have removed from our platforms on COVID-19 and vaccines because they are false and may add to the risk of physical harm during the pandemic,” said Monika Bickert, vice president of content policy.
“We keep adding to this list as new trends emerge. For example, last month we added claims to our list that COVID-19 vaccines cause Alzheimer’s disease, that the vaccines cause magnetism, and that being close to vaccinated people could cause secondary side effects on others. “