On Thursday, Instagram said it will block all the additional vaccine misinformation hashtags; however, other hashtags promoted by anti-vaxxers are still thriving on its platform.
Instagram changed its policies after a CNN Business report on Wednesday revealed that Instagram had announced it has blocked hashtag #VaccinescauseAIDS; however, it was found that hashtag #VaccinesKill was still there on the app and appeared on the top of the search bar for vaccines.
The social media platform has now blocked hashtag #VaccinesKill. So, it will no longer be shown on any results when the user clicks on it.
Users who click on #VaccinesKill get a note stating, “Posts for #VaccinesKill have been limited because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.”
In spite of the policy change, CNN Business on Thursday has found that hashtag #VaccinesHarm is still thriving and showing a significant amount of anti-vaccination content and vaccine misinformation.
An Instagram spokesperson said, “Instagram is currently reviewing hashtags and will block ones that feature a certain amount of vaccine misinformation.” The spokesperson added, “The process for combating vaccine misinformation is ongoing and that Instagram is considering additional ways it can address the issue on the platform. It is also considering adding a pop-up message with factual information about vaccines to some hashtags.”
The spokesperson also said, “Hashtags that have a smaller percentage of health-related misinformation will only show a limited number of posts.”
“Vaccines are extremely safe. Serious adverse reactions are very, very rare. It’s very unfortunate that there would be such a hashtag because it’s going to scare people,” said professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety Daniel Salmon.
He added, “If you scare people, less people will get vaccinated and you’ll have outbreaks of things like measles which can kill children.”
Researchers have repeatedly and consistently debunked the myth surrounding vaccination causes autism in children. In fact, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics said that vaccination for children is extremely important to public health.
Health officials expressed concerns over the vaccine misinformation that has been spreading and discouraging parents from getting their children vaccinated, making them vulnerable to measles. As of Monday, the number of measles cases in the United States increased to 764, according to the CDC.