Teenager Ethan Lindenberger, from Ohio, made headlines this month as one of the witnesses testifying before The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions pleading the need for vaccines, after the story of his anti-vaxx mom made waves across the internet. Lindenberger first posted about his mom to r/nostupidquestions on Reddit asking if he could get vaccinated without parental consent. Needless to say, people were triggered by the question and used it to highlight the misinformation and harm of the anti-vaxxer movement.
Image credits: istockphoto/yacobchuk
Well, Lindenberger’s mom is not alone. A woman turned to the internet for vaccine advice, but unlike the Ohio teen, this anti-vaxx mom was searching for ways on how to stop her almost-legal son from getting immunized once he became of age.
Instead of advice, the woman got some pretty brutal responses
In an attempt to squelch the anti-vaxx internet women like this have created, Facebook has decided it will no longer permit advertisements that include false information on vaccines along with removing targeting options such as “vaccine controversies.”
Anti-vaccine propaganda has had such far-reaching influence that measles outbreaks have surged around the globe. The World Health Organization has named the anti-vaxx movement as ‘vaccine hesitancy’ – “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines,” and lists it as one of the top threats to global health for 2019.
The most widely spread and disproven hoax about vaccines is that there is a link between the measles vaccine and autism. Facebook is not the only platform to tackle this issue, in 2017 Pinterest, explicitly banned the “promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses and anti-vaccination advice.” In February Youtube said they would not allow channels that promote anti-vax content to run advertising, saying explicitly that such videos fall under its policy that prohibits the monetization of videos with “dangerous and harmful” content.