Facebook said on Wednesday that the “hesitation” of the vaccine is waning in the United States and elsewhere, and credits its efforts to filter out misinformation and promote reliable information to help the trend.
In releasing its quarterly transparency report, Facebook said the latest data showed vaccine hesitancy dropped 50% among American users of the social network, with significant drops in other countries.
The news comes a month after a public dispute between Facebook and the White House after President Joe Biden claimed Facebook was “killing people” by allowing wrong vaccine information to spread.
Facebook said it removed about 20 million pieces of content, issued warnings to millions more, and blocked 3,000 accounts for violating its COVID-19 disinformation policies, while at the same time connecting users to trusted sources of health information .
“We are focused on results, which we believe is the right way to measure the bottom line,” Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen told reporters.
“For example, for people in the US on Facebook, vaccine hesitation has decreased by 50 percent and we have similarly seen vaccine ratings rise globally.”
The data comes from a long-standing survey of Facebook users conducted with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland.
“This is all a move in the right direction,” he said.
Rosen noted that 18 million people used Facebook profile boards to support vaccines.
“It’s more important for people to see their friends and family support the vaccination,” he said.
Facebook said its machine learning tools continue to make progress in filtering out inappropriate content such as hate speech.
Rosen said the prevalence of content breach — which Facebook claims is the best way to measure its filtering effectiveness — was just 0.05 percent in the second quarter of the year.
That translates to five pieces of inappropriate content per 1,000 views, he noted.
“Prevalence is our primary metric … it’s important because it doesn’t capture what we’ve taken down, but what we’ve lost and what people see,” Rosen said.
Facebook did not include data on the prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation, saying this is a rapidly evolving scenario.
“We now have more than 65 specific claims that we have removed from our platforms around COVID-19 and vaccines because they are false and may contribute to the risk of imminent physical harm during the pandemic,” said Vice President of Content Policy, Monika Bickert.
“We continue to add to this list as new trends emerge. For example, last month we added to our list claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause Alzheimer’s, that vaccines cause magnetism and that being around vaccinated people can cause secondary side effects for others. “