YouTube said Friday that it would pull advertising from videos that espouse anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, according to BuzzFeed. The action contributes to a growing trend of social media companies taking action to combat the spread of vaccine misinformation online. Social media companies, including Facebook and YouTube, have recently been facing pressure to get better at this, following inquiries from media and calls from lawmakers. The World Health Organization recently categorized "vaccine hesitancy" as one of 2019's top threats to global health. The US is experiencing a measles outbreak -- a previously near-eradicated disease -- that's affecting unvaccinated children.
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has appeared on a podcast with a controversial fitness personality who has promoted scientifically disproven claims that vaccinations cause autism. Host Ben Greenfield – who tweeted in February that "vaccines do indeed cause autism" – thanked Mr Dorsey for an "epic podcast". The Twitter boss responded: "Great conversation and appreciate all you do to simplify the mountains of research focused on increasing one's healthspan! We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view. His appearance comes as other tech firms like Facebook and Pinterest are cracking down on anti-vaccine content on their platforms. However, Twitter claimed Mr Dorsey was unaware of the host's controversial opinions. A Twitter spokesperson told The Independent that Mr Dorsey did not know about Mr Greenfield's views on vaccinations and that his podcast appearance was not an endorsement of those beliefs. Sheen fought a legal battle against ex-wife Denise Richards to try and ...
Amazon is under fire again for helping spread anti-vaccine conspiracies. Four major anti-vaccination groups -- National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Age of Autism, Learn the Risk, and Physicians for Informed Consent -- are raising money through the Amazon's charity fundraising program, AmazonSmile, according to a report by The Guardian. Other anti-vaccine organizations such as American Citizens for Health Choice (ACHC), A Voice for Choice, Informed Consent Action Network, and the National Health Freedom Coalition are also included in the program. Through AmazonSmile, customers can choose to donate 0.5 percent of their purchase price to a charitable group of their choice when shopping with Amazon. The fundraising initiative has donated more than $100 million to organizations such as St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Doctors Without Borders, and the ASPCA since it launched in 2013.
Facebook is under pressure to stem the rise of anti-vaccination groups spreading false information about the dangers of life-saving vaccines while peddling unfounded alternative treatments such as high doses of vitamin C. So-called "anti-vaxxers" are operating on Facebook in closed groups, where members have to be approved in advance. By barring access to others, they are able to serve undiluted misinformation without challenge. The groups are large and sophisticated. Stop Mandatory Vaccination has more than 150,000 approved members. Vitamin C Against Vaccine Damage claims that large doses of the vitamin can "heal" people from vaccine damage, even though vaccines are safe.
Indiegogo, the crowdfunding startup popular with filmmakers and other creatives, is banning anti-vaxxers from its platform. According to BuzzFeed News, the company will "no longer allow anti-vaccine fundraisers or any projects making health claims that do not have a scientific backing." The policy change comes after the sequel to a well-known anti-vaccination film raised funds on the Indiegogo platform. The filmmakers behind Vaxxed II: The People's Truth recently raised $86,543 on the site. The new policy will bar future anti-vaxxer projects from crowdfunding.