Sunday, February 24, 2019

Pinterest Restricts Vaccine Search Results to Curb Spread of Misinformation - The New York Times

Pinterest, a digital platform popular with parents, took an unusual step to crack down on the proliferation of anti-vaccination propaganda: It purposefully hobbled its search box.

Type "vaccine" into its search bar and nothing pops up. "Vaccination" or "anti-vax"? Also nothing.

Pinterest, which allows people to save pictures on virtual pinboards, is often used to find recipes for picky toddlers, baby shower décor or fashion trends, but it has also become a platform for anti-vaccination activists who spread misinformation on social media.

It is an especially effective way to reach parents: 80 percent of mothers and 38 percent of fathers in the United States are on Pinterest, according to 2017 data from comScore. The company has more than 250 million monthly active users and is expected to go public this year.

Other platforms like Facebook and YouTube have also been infiltrated with misinformation about vaccines, and are taking steps to combat it. One of YouTube's policies is to demonetize anti-vaccine videos.

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