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Pinterest reveals crackdown on anti-vaccine posts and searches


The social media platform has been blocking searches it believes spread vaccine misinformation

Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Pinterest has said that it has been actively blocking any posts including misinformation about vaccines from appearing in searches since last year.

What are the details?

In order to prevent its platform for being used to spread anti-vaccine messaging, Pinterest HQ has created a "blacklist" of search terms it considers to be "polluted."

A search for "vaccination" now produces a message that reads:

Pins about this topic often violate our community guidelines, so we're currently unable to show search results.

In addition to modifying searchable terms, it keeps track of images that include misinformation about vaccines, preventing users from being able to repost them.

"We proactively take action on Pins and boards that contain health misinformation, and we encourage anyone who might be encountering this content to report it to our team," a spokesperson from Instagram told ABC News.

"We want Pinterest to be an inspiring place for people, and there's nothing inspiring about misinformation," a spokesperson told CNBC in a separate statement. "That's why we continue to work on new ways of keeping misleading content off our platform and out of our recommendations engine."

The social media platform claims to have more than 250 million active users a month.

According to The Guardian, a study from 2016 found that 75 percent of all posts related to vaccines at the time were negative.

Vaccines may have prevented a recent measles outbreak

2019 has seen a spike in the number of measles cases in the United States — a disease that in 2000 had been entirely wiped out throughout the country. Out of the 53 cases that had been confirmed by Feb. 14 in one hard hit county in Washington state, 47 — or 89 percent — were in people who had not been immunized. The number of those infected in that county alone has now risen to 63.

Before the measles vaccine was developed in 1963, 400 to 500 people would die from it each year, and 48,000 would be hospitalized.

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