Pinterest—the social media site of choice for DIY crafters, home decor enthusiasts, and my Aunt Melanie—has banned search terms related to “vaccines” in order to curb anti-vaccination propaganda from spreading on the platform. According to the Guardian, anti-vaxxer rhetoric has been an ongoing issue on Pinterest: In 2016, 75 percent of posts related to vaccinations were anti-, resulting in language banning the “promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses and anti-vaccination advice” to be added to their community guidelines in 2017. Now, they’ve taken it a step further by completely removing certain search terms like “vaccine,” “vaccines,” “vaccination,” “vaccinations,” and “anti-vax.”
A social impact manager at Pinterest, Ifeoma Ozoma, told the Guardian:
“We’re a place where people come to find inspiration, and there is nothing inspiring about harmful content. Our view on this is we’re not the platform for that... We are doing our best to remove bad content, but we know that there is bad content that we haven’t gotten to yet. We don’t want to surface that with search terms like ‘cancer cure’ or ‘suicide’. We’re hoping that we can move from breaking the site to surfacing only good content. Until then, this is preferable.”
Pinterest’s decision to remove pins related to super dangerous anti-vaxxer misinformation differs drastically from other social media platforms that have yet to make any real effort towards combating the growing movement. Just last week, the Guardian found that Facebook allowed advertisers to promote anti-vaxx propaganda to users curious about “vaccine controversies,” bombarding them inaccurate information not based in science.
Is anyone else overwhelmed with déjà vu?