For much of the past year and a half, Facebook has faced intense criticism for failing to stop the spread of medical misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and its treatments. And right when the company seems to be getting a handle on the issue, a new threat emerges. According to a report this week from The Verge, that is exactly what’s happening with Ivermectin — the latest trend in false COVID-19 info.
Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug intended for livestock, has caught on in the anti-vax community as a potential cure for COVID-19. Of course, there’s no medical basis for that belief. However, that has not stopped information about the drug from exploding on social media. And as usual, Facebook has seemingly been caught flat-footed by the speedy transmission and sheer scale of misinformation on its platform.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company removes content “that attempts to buy, sell, donate or ask for Ivermectin.” They then continued, “We also enforce against any account or group that violates our COVID-19 and vaccine policies, including claims that Ivermectin is a guaranteed cure or guaranteed prevention, and we don’t allow ads promoting Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.”
However, just because Facebook has rules against this kind of content doesn’t mean that it’s doing a good job of cracking down. Here’s hoping Facebook finds a way to step up its enforcement and stop this dangerous misinformation before more people harm themselves.
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