FILE- In this March 27, 2019, file photo, measles, mumps and rubella vaccines sit in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y. Pinterest says vaccine-related searches on its site will show results from health organizations including the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and others. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
health

Pinterest to direct vaccine-related searches to health orgs

14 Comments
By MAE ANDERSON

Pinterest it will try to combat misinformation about vaccines by showing only information from health organizations when people search.

Social media sites have been trying to combat the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Pinterest previously tried blocking all searches for vaccines with mixed results.

Now searches for "measles," ''vaccine safety" and related terms will bring up results from such groups as the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the WHO-established Vaccine Safety Net.

Pinterest won't show ads or other users' posts, as they may contain misinformation.

"We're taking this approach because we believe that showing vaccine misinformation alongside resources from public health experts isn't responsible," San Francisco-based Pinterest said in a blog post.

Though anti-vaccine sentiments have been around for as long as vaccines have existed, health experts worry that anti-vaccine propaganda can spread more quickly on social media. The misinformation includes soundly debunked notions that vaccines cause autism or that mercury preservatives and other substances in them can harm people.

Experts say the spread of such information can push parents who are worried about vaccines toward refusing to inoculate their children, leading to a comeback of various diseases.

Measles outbreaks have spiked in the U.S. this year to the highest number in more than 25 years.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson blamed people "listening to that superstitious mumbo jumbo on the internet" for a rising incidence of measles in that country. The government plans to call a summit of social media companies to discuss what more they can do to fight online misinformation, though plans were still being worked out.

Facebook said in March that it would no longer recommend groups and pages that spread hoaxes about vaccines and that it would reject ads that do this. But anti-vax information still slips through.

The WHO praised Pinterest's move and encouraged other social media companies to follow.

"Misinformation about vaccination has spread far and fast on social media platforms in many different countries," the statement said. "We see this as a critical issue and one that needs our collective effort to protect people's health and lives."

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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Right. Because health orgs are immune from misinformation. And there is no money in vaccines so you can forget about that motive to hide anything. And uh....one has to wonder why exactly the people at Pinterest took this stance. Could it be.....some stock in pharmaceutical companies? Hmmmm? Haven't seen any mass deaths caused by failure to vaccinate yet so...seems a tad premature to go cracking down on free speech.

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It's not good when the leaders of websites manipulate their search engines to suit their political views.

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Haven't seen any mass deaths caused by failure to vaccinate yet so...seems a tad premature to go cracking down on free speech.

Failure to vaccinate is socially harmful, because it leads to resurgence of disease - even diseases that had been all but eliminated, as endemic measles once was in the US.

While you personally may set the bar at "mass deaths", not everyone else does, but it is a reminder that antivax arguments often fail to acknowledge that a disease can be harmful and undesirable even if it doesn't result in the death of the person who contracts it.

In any case, there is a death rate from measles, which is already measured and known, and is accounted for in vaccination recommendations. There is also the effect of complications, which can result in permanent disability; effects on the immune system, which is compromised after contracting and recovering from measles; as well as widespread social and economic effects due to lost work days, lost school days, cost of countering epidemics, strain on health services etc.

Apart from the basic and obvious stupidity of considering only death, these are reasons why health authorities do not want to just let measles rip through the general population, especially now that it can be prevented with a harmless, cheap, and easy-to-administer vaccine.

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Norman GoodmanToday 09:27 am JST

Right. Because health orgs are immune from misinformation. And there is no money in vaccines so you can forget about that motive to hide anything.

Health orgs at least have sources to support the claims they make about vaccines, and is astronomically less likely they end up repeating proven lies over and over again as most antivax sites do.

Simply speaking they have information of hugely better quality, so its completely desirable from any point of view to prioritize links to them, if you don't like this you only have to prove "other" sites have information of the same quality, something that nobody has been able to do.

And uh....one has to wonder why exactly the people at Pinterest took this stance. Could it be.....some stock in pharmaceutical companies?

That would be the opposite, one single multi-day stay in an ICU gives much more profits than a thousand vaccines for pharmaceutical companies, its a much better business to not support vaccination rates, after all its not their responsibility to lead people to their less expensive products.

Haven't seen any mass deaths caused by failure to vaccinate yet so...seems a tad premature to go cracking down on free speech.

That have absolutely no impact on free speech, companies have all the right to support information of better quality and they are censoring absolutely nobody by it.

Burning BushToday 09:58 am JST

It's not good when the leaders of websites manipulate their search engines to suit their political views.

But supporting the information sustained in better scientific data is good. Its unfortunate your political views are more in line with things that can be proven false scientifically but precisely for that they can be validly ignored.

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@ Virusrex = feel free to have your Vaccine dose and mine also.

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they are censoring absolutely nobody by it.

That is an absolutely false claim. Everyone knows that after the first page or two, search results are ignored by all but the most dedicated researchers. Regulating certain information to the third page or less is as effective as book burning and is the modern equivalent.

Simply speaking they have information of hugely better quality,

Well so did the Vatican when heliocentrism was just a hypothesis. Because they buried the hypothesis, research into the matter was delayed.

Further to that, thanks to awareness, people are paying more attention to vaccines and realizing that they are NOT 100 percent safe and realizing that deaths and injuries may have been the result of vaccines. From 1989 $4 billion dollars has been paid out to victims of vaccine injury and death, but $1 billion of that has been in just over the last four years!

That would be the opposite, one single multi-day stay in an ICU gives much more profits

Fear mongering! Not all vaccines are necessary or even effective! They often amount to simple profiteering. Flu vaccines for the healthy and HPV vaccines for children for example. Flu vaccines are often less than 50 percent effective and kids generally won't need to worry about HPV until they are in their 50s. Only a handful of vaccines, which I recommend, could possibly generate a real uptick in ICU visits if foregone. As if your user name did not already make a suspicious enough person, that fearmongering is beyond the pale.

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Apart from the basic and obvious stupidity of considering only death

Sorry I did not write book for you. I merely pointed to what would be an most obvious result of vaccine misinformation if things were so bad.

At this point, I could post much the same as you did about someone who focused on measles while ignoring the fact that there are over a dozen vaccines being given to kids today and I have heard numbers such as 49 doses given to kids before they even get to kindergarten.

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@ Virusrex = feel free to have your Vaccine dose and mine also.

So that is the limit of your valid arguments? that is what you feel so sad about losing if other people don't read it? sorry but that is just giving up and recognizing you have no valid reasons to feel in a certain way.

That is an absolutely false claim. Everyone knows that after the first page or two, search results are ignored by all but the most dedicated researchers. Regulating certain information to the third page or less is as effective as book burning and is the modern equivalent.

No, that is absolutely not censoring, if your page has been found lying and twisting the truth so much that 3 pages of google have much better options filled with scientific references and objective data then there is absolutely no censoring to do. It only means there are much more options with better quality information.

Well so did the Vatican when heliocentrism was just a hypothesis. Because they buried the hypothesis, research into the matter was delayed.

Funny, that is precisely what antivaxxers want to do, to obfuscate as much as possible the valid, objective scientific data that proves the efficacy and safety of vaccines repeating as much as possible proven lies and personal opinions based on absolutely nothing. As the church did it all become possible because of undeserved power, in this case the power given by social media, since that unethically used power is now being taken from their hands they cannot hide the truth so easily and that is why it hurts them so much. Galileo was right because he used science, the church was wrong because it could not accept scientific data.

From 1989 $4 billion dollars has been paid out to victims of vaccine injury and death, but $1 billion of that has been in just over the last four years!

Obviously, because they don't have to prove that vaccines had any injury nor death, they have only to prove is not impossible, which is a completely different thing. But still from a health point of view that is still money well invested, because even if 99.99% of the cases can be proved to be independent of vaccination it would still cost more to do it (in both reputation and economic resources) so the best practical thing to do is to give money to people with health problems and keep a safe and effective health intervention to be used by the population. In opposite to antivaxxers the purpose is to keep the population healthy so sacrificing money to be able to keep doing it is still a winning proposition.

Fear mongering! Not all vaccines are necessary or even effective!

Every single one that is recommended is necessary and effective.

Flu vaccines for the healthy and HPV vaccines for children for example.

Both are effective and necessary, they prevent deaths and serious diseases, and in both cases catching the disease gives much more profit to pharmaceutical companies than vaccinating.

Flu vaccines are often less than 50 percent effective and kids generally won't need to worry about HPV until they are in their 50s.

That is false, if you count lethal cases, preventable secondary infections and days of a very debilitanting and frequently complicated disease flu vaccines are NOT frequently less than 50% effective.

And no, kids need to be protected from HPV before they have an active sex life, thinking they can forget about it until they are infected and have decades of inflammation producing oncogenic changes is like saying that smokers only have to worry when they are diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer.

As if your user name did not already make a suspicious enough person, that fearmongering is beyond the pale.

So, since you cannot prove any of the arguments for the vaccines as untrue you go for the user name? that is irrelevant, you have used untrue arguments repeatedly and it has been easy to disprove them, any user name you or I could choose would not change that.

At the end of the day you have no valid arguments, only dubious claims about things and very dangerous misrepresentations of the dangers of infectious diseases, that is extremely low quality evidence, the type that should not be what people finds when they have sincere worries about their health, in comparison proper medical sites are much more trust worthy and beneficial for whoever reads them, even if you personally don't like what they say.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Anybody with no background can post misinformation on the internet, and many people believe anything on the internet

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Further to that, thanks to awareness, people are paying more attention to vaccines and realizing that they are NOT 100 percent safe and realizing that deaths and injuries may have been the result of vaccines. From 1989 $4 billion dollars has been paid out to victims of vaccine injury and death

It has been paid to claimed victims. Not the same thing at all.

There's a whole lot of missing detail - the entire story, in fact - about what the "vaccine injury court" is, what it does, and why it does it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Anybody with no background can post misinformation on the internet, and many people believe anything on the internet

Yeah, but how likely is some completely bogus claim to make it to the top of your web search? Its no guarantee but if a page has become so popular there is likely something to it rather than sheer bogusness. I again point to the fact that there are liars on all sides and simply cutting off one side is not going to solve that particular problem.

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I don't know about Pinterest's search setup specifically, but if we're talking in general about search tools, is there not a problem in limiting results to a limited set of organizations? What if we want to search for "whacko theories about vaccination"? Or what if we want to search for academic papers on the subject? Will universities be included in the approved sources, including those with religious motives?

Wouldn't it be better to provide some kind of filter options? So if "vaccine" appears in the search string, there might be filter options such as "government health authorities", "academic institutes", "media", "whackos", "JT readers", "'All".

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Yeah, but how likely is some completely bogus claim to make it to the top of your web search?

Extremely easy as long as that lie is popular. There is no correlation between something being truthful and it being popular, so the argument that "there is likely something to it" is not true. Science makes an effort to cut out the liars and keep the information necessary to corroborate all claims available for scrutiny, pages with bogus claims obviously don't and that is why they are being demoted.

Or to say it more simply, there are much more times liars between random sites than official scientific sites that are subjected to public scrutiny, it is natural to bet on the side with less liars. This will help solve the problem.

but if we're talking in general about search tools, is there not a problem in limiting results to a limited set of organizations?

That is not happening, searches in general are not being affected but only those that have already been demonstrated to be a problem which are the ones inside the SNS, it is not just a theoretical possibility but it can be easily found that searches inside this kind of services lead to false and misleading information with much more frequency than to a reputable source with truthful information. Blocking is simply a way to make sure the misinformation is more difficult to find on SNS sites than outside. People trying to manipulate others will now have to do it using other sites or services, hopefully making their negative efforts more obvious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

 Or what if we want to search for academic papers on the subject?

Then you search.

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