Experts Explain Why Medical Misinformation Continues To Spread On Facebook Despite Ban

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, Facebook has struggled to stop the spread of potentially dangerous medical misinformation. And now that vaccines to fight the deadly pandemic are beginning to roll out around the world, the social media giant faces a renewed wave of false content. Thankfully, Facebook has taken steps to address this issue. However, according to experts, there is still plenty of medical misinformation on the platform — and there is a very simple reason why.

The reason COVID-19 misinformation has blown up on Facebook is because so much of that sort of junky content was allowed in the first place. In other words, Facebook tolerated these bad actors for so long that it is now having a difficult time containing the problem.

“It doesn’t take an advanced, opaque algorithm like Facebook likes to use to predict this behavior,” online misinformation expert John Gregory told PolitiFact. “The pages we’ve seen spreading these myths… they are pages that have been spreading health misinformation in most cases for years.”

For its part, Facebook itself even seems to acknowledge that it has to do a better job.

“Our enforcement isn’t perfect, which is why we’re always improving it while also working with outside experts to make sure that our policies remain in the right place,” Facebook spokesperson Kevin McAlister said.

As with most of Facebook’s problems, there is no simple solution here. However, for a company with basically infinite resources, that is not an acceptable excuse.

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