Facebook documents show it hampered Zuckerberg’s goal of getting 50 million people vaccinated
REVEALED: Facebook staff warned the platform was a “sump of anti-vaccine comments” that hampered Zuckerberg’s stated goal of promoting vaccines
- Internal Facebook memos revealed widespread vaccine misinformation hurt CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goat to get 50 million people vaccinated through the platform
- Earlier this year, Zuckerberg launched Facebook’s COVID information center to help people make vaccination appointments easily
- Facebook researchers, however, warned Zuckerberg that his social media company houses millions of daily anti-vaxxer comments.
- They discovered that widespread disinformation flooded any post promoting the vaccine, creating a “sump of anti-vaccine comments”
Facebook employees had warned CEO Mark Zuckerberg that his own social media platform had compromised his goal of using the company to vaccinate 50 million people against COVID-19.
Zuckerberg announced the initiative in March, showing Facebook’s ability to connect users with vaccine providers to help make appointments, as well as offer the service to its Instagram and WhatsApp affiliates.
“It will be in the Covid Information Center, which we will show people directly in their news feed. We’ve already seen people use Facebook to find immunization appointments, so that should allow millions more people to do the same, ”Zuckerberg wrote.
But for months, Facebook searches warned that comments on vaccine-related posts the platform was promoting were filled with anti-vaccine rhetoric aimed at undermining the message and any confidence in vaccines, the platform reported. Wall Street Journal.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pictured in 2019, wanted his social media company to help 50 million people get vaccinated. Internal notes from company researchers found Facebook was hindering the goal more than it helping it
Zuckerberg said he wanted Facebook and its affiliates to help millions get vaccinated
Facebook posts against the vaccination effort were rampant online with at least 310 million comments posted every day
The millions of comments ranged from personal objections to conspiracy theories.
Internal documents obtained by the Journal reveal that even the World Health Organization and Unicef, who helped lead the campaign for a global immunization effort, contacted Facebook about the flood of negative comments on their posts.
“Vaccine commentators swarming their pages,” a Facebook employee wrote in a note.
Another note sounded the alarm that around 41% of comments on vaccine-related articles written in English came from those who discourage vaccinations.
That meant that of the 775 million daily comments on vaccine-related posts, about 310 million of them kept people away from vaccines.
Even authoritative sources of vaccine news were becoming “sumps of anti-vaccine commentary,” the Facebook researchers wrote. “This is a huge problem and we have to solve it. ”
The issues with the anti-vaccine posts were also seen by Facebook affiliate Instagram
Strong anti-vaccine and COVID-19 misinformation continues in the United States. Pictured is an anti-vax protest in Santa Monica, Calif. On August 29
Protesters continue to claim vaccines are unnecessary, with some calling COVID a hoax
In a statement, Facebook spokesperson Aaron Simpson defended Facebook’s work in promoting the vaccine and said the memos were not sufficient evidence to say the company was failing in its mission.
“We’re focused on the results, and the data shows that for people in the United States on Facebook, vaccine reluctance has decreased by about 50% since January, and acceptance is high.
“The documents show Facebook’s” routine process for dealing with tough challenges.
“Closely characterizing the leaked documents does not accurately represent the problem, and it also ignores the ongoing work to make comments on the COVID-19 and vaccine publications safer and more reliable.”