The World Health Organization said Thursday it embraced a commitment by Facebook that it would direct users seeking vaccine data on its Instagram, Facebook Search, Groups and different forums towards facts, not misinformation.
After many months of discussions with the WHO, Facebook has promised to direct its users to “accurate and reliable vaccine information in multiple languages” on the WHO’s website, the United Nations health agency said, “to make sure that crucial health messages reach people who need them the most.”
“Major digital companies have a responsibility to their customers – to ensure that they can access info about vaccines and health,” the WHO mentioned in a statement.
“Vaccine misinformation is a major risk to the world health that might reverse decades of development made in tackling preventable diseases,” it stated. Deadly infectious ailments such as measles, diphtheria, hepatitis, cholera, and yellow fever can all be stopped with immunization, it noted.
The WHO says vaccines are one of the vital innovations in public wellbeing history and estimates that they save a minimum of 2 million lives yearly worldwide.
Also, immunization means millions of more kids avoid becoming plagued with debilitating ailments that would lead to extended hospital stays.
However, misinformation about vaccination has spread far on social media in several countries lately – including during crucial vaccination campaigns to prevent polio in Pakistan and to immunize against yellow fever in South America.
Greeting Facebook’s commitment, the WHO said such steps by social media “must be matched by tangible measures by governments and the health sector” to promote trust in vaccination and respond to the needs and problems of parents.