Pinterest is taking a massive step toward stopping the spread of misinformation. The social network announced that it will no longer show results for vaccinations.
Blocked Pinterest Results
On Wednesday, social network Pinterest announced that it will no longer show search results for terms related to vaccination, regardless of whether the results are for or against them. The move actually came in late 2018 after they noticed that many of the images shared on the platform cautioned against getting vaccinations.
Such information can be detrimental to public health. In fact, there have been several outbreaks of previously eradicated illnesses such as measles in various locations in the country. Evidently, many of these outbreaks may be linked to unfounded concerns online about the safety of vaccines despite being proven safe for most people.
Vaccine Search Results
In regard to Pinterest’s move, there were still search results about vaccines when the terms “vaccine harm” and “vaccine danger” were searched, so the company will include those terms in the blocked list as well. The company notes that it would be difficult to completely remove false information on vaccines, which is why the ban will stay in place until they come up with a permanent solution.
“We want Pinterest to be an inspiring place for people, and there's nothing inspiring about misinformation. That's why we continue to work on new ways of keeping misleading content off our platform and out of our recommendations engine,” a Pinterest spokesperson told CNBC.
Health Misinformation Policy
Even before this move against misinformation on vaccinations, Pinterest has also taken steps against misinformation on other health concerns. Since 2017, for instance, the platform has been blocking content regarding false cancer cures after they found that many users were being redirected to sites that discourage against medical treatment and promote alternatives such as essential oils to cure cancer.