Social media giant Facebook has announced that it has implemented new measures to reduce health content that is considered sensational or misleading on its platform.
It comes at a time when many people look for health information online with research showing gaining social and emotional support may lead health consumers to consult with social media.
In a blog post this week, Travis Yeh, Product Manager with the social network, said Facebook had introduced two ranking updates to reduce posts with “exaggerated or sensational health claims” and posts “attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims”. This means posts with sensational health claims or solicitation using health-related claims will have reduced distribution.
“We handled this in a similar way to how we have previously reduced low-quality content like clickbait: by identifying phrases that were commonly used in these posts to predict which posts might include sensational health claims or promotion of products with health-related claims, and then showing these lower in News Feed,” Yeh said.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it was working to tackle vaccine misinformation on the network by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic. This includes finding and rejecting ads that include misinformation about vaccinations.