WHO to leverage on Facebook, Instagram to curb vaccine misinformation ― DG

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) says it welcomes the commitment by Facebook to ensure that users find facts about vaccines across social media platforms, where people seek information and advice.

Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, who made this known in a statement on the bloc’s official website, listed such platforms as; Instagram, Facebook Search, Groups, Pages and forums.

Ghebreyesus said that Facebook would direct millions of its users to WHO’s accurate and reliable vaccine information in several languages, to ensure that vital health messages reached people who needed them the most.

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He described vaccine misinformation as a danger to global health.

“The World Health Organisation and Facebook have been in discussions for several months, to ensure people can access authoritative information on vaccines and reduce the spread of inaccuracies.

“Vaccine misinformation is a major threat to global health that could reverse decades of progress made in tackling preventable diseases.

“Many debilitating and deadly diseases can be effectively prevented by vaccines. Measles, diphtheria, hepatitis, polio, cholera, yellow fever and influenza,” he said.

According to the Director-General, major digital organisations have a responsibility to ensure that their users can access facts about vaccines and health.

“It would be great to see social and search platforms come together to leverage their combined reach.

“We want digital actors doing more to make it known around the world that vaccines work; we want innovation that supports healthy behaviours to save lives and protect the vulnerable.

“So many children whose parents fully support vaccination currently lack access to these life-saving tools,” he stated.

He, however, advised that online efforts should be matched with tangible steps by governments and the health sector, to promote trust in vaccination and respond to the needs and concerns of parents.

“Let us not miss more opportunities to prevent the spread of some of the world’s deadliest diseases,” he advised.

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