Facebook takes action against bogus health content

Health, News

Facebook is taking action against bogus health content and sensational miracle cures on its platform by reducing their visibility, the company has confirmed.

The social network said that it started ranking health posts differently by factoring two indicators to minimise low-quality health posts from appearing on the News Feed last month.

It now considers whether a post about health exaggerates or misleads, as well as if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim.

The company said it achieves this by spotting out phrases commonly seen in posts to flag up potential content with sensational health claims or promoting products with health-related claims.

“In our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of information in news feed, we consider ranking changes based on how they affect people, publishers and our community as a whole,” explained Travis Yeh, a product manager at Facebook.

“We know that people don’t like posts that are sensational or spammy, and misleading health content is particularly bad for our community.”

Facebook warned Group owners to avoid posting about health issues that exaggerate or mislead people, but said Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in the News Feed.

The move follows a wider effort to clamp down on misinformation, with anti-vaccination content made less visible from March.

The social network previously said it was looking into how it approached the problem in a way that enabled freedom of expression but also supported the safety of users.

Chris Price
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