"We will reduce the ranking of groups and pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in news feed and search". Diseases long thought extinct have been reintroduced to fatal effect thanks to these merchants of disease.
Exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation.
Additionally, ads that contain false facts about vaccines will be rejected and removed.
After Facebook's Thursday announcement, Schiff struck a cautious note on Twitter, writing, "The ultimate test will be if these measures reduce the spread of anti-vaccine content on their platforms, to the benefit of public health".
Facebook's crackdown on anti-vaxxers won't just punish groups that spread the information, it will also make them harder to find.
Facebook had been increasingly criticised in recent times for providing a platform for anti-vaccine content. Congressman Adam Schiff had led the charge, writing a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to forcefully suggest both Instagram and Facebook crack down on misinformation around vaccines."Repetition of information, even if false, can often be mistaken for accuracy", he wrote.
DFR, a small online forensics team of Washington-based Atlantic Council thinktank, has been working with Facebook to enhance the social network's investigations of foreign interference.
One group of scientists recently published a study that found the majority of the most-viewed health stories on Facebook in 2018 were downright fake or contained significant amounts of misleading information.
Pointing out that the algorithms are not created to recognize quality information from falsities, Schiff expressed his concern over posts, messages, and advertising containing vaccine misinformation being spread over Facebook and Instagram, among other websites.
Facebook isn't removing anti-vaccination content completely. Anti-vax posts and pages, however, will remain live.
Like Facebook, YouTube has also pulled advertising from videos that feature anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, a move the video-sharing site initially publicized last month. "If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them".
On Tuesday, teenager Ethan Lindenberger told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that his mother refused to give him vaccinations based on information she read on Facebook.