Facebook, Twitter, and Google will work with the governments of the UK and Canada and “fact-checking” organizations to censor the spread of coronavirus vaccine skepticism online. Vaccine-critical conversations have increased since Moderna and Pfizer announced their vaccine candidates and governments and Big Tech want it suppressed.
The initiative is to be coordinated by Full Fact; a fact-checking non-profit based in the UK.
The UK and Canada’s governments are also supporting the initiative, as well as other fact-checking websites based in Spain, India, and Argentina.
Until the project fully launches in January 2021, it will be funded by Facebook.
Both Moderna and Pfizer recently announced vaccine candidates with claims of over 90 percent effectiveness. The next step will be requesting the FDA to authorize the vaccines for emergency use. If it goes ahead as planned, there will be a COVID vaccine ready by the end of the year.
However, there is a significant number of people that are skeptical about a coronavirus vaccine. A survey conducted by the Associated Press in May revealed that 20 percent of Americans do not plan on getting a coronavirus vaccine at all.
The governments and Big Tech giants backing Full Fact’s effort fear that that number could increase if anti-vaccination conversations are not deleted from spreading online. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, for a degree of normalcy to resume, about 80 percent of the population would need to be vaccinated by the fall of 2021.
“A coronavirus vaccine is now potentially just months away,” said Full Fact chief executive Will Moy. “But a wave of related bad information could undermine trust in medicine when it matters most and prolong this pandemic.”
What’s not known is how, during a time when people are highly skeptical of governments and Big Tech giants, censoring their conversations is going to help build “trust in medicine.”