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WhatsApp spreading anti-vaccine news in India: WSJ

IANS  |  San Francisco 

has yet again come under critical observation in after its app with 300 million users in the country became a medium for the rapid spread of anti-vaccine misinformation.

"Anti-vaccine misinformation, some of it from posts in the West, is spreading in on WhatsApp, undermining efforts to root out and in a country where tens of thousands of people are struck by the each year," reported on Saturday.

and its family of apps is already facing pressure to stop promoting anti-vaccine propaganda to users amid global concern over vaccine hesitancy and a outbreak in the Pacific northwest.

Earlier in February, the was reported to have allowed advertisers to promote anti-vaccine content to nearly 9 lakh people interested in "vaccine controversies".

According to the latest report, many of the same wrong stories that misled Americans on are spreading via in India, where some programmes have been halted.

"Dozens of schools in have refused to allow health officials to carry out in recent months, largely because of rumors shared on Inc.'s popular messaging app about the supposed dangers," added.

The has not officially commented on the subject yet.

In March, Monika Bickert, Vice President, at Facebook, informed people via a blog-post that the has decided to take action against accounts which were promoting vaccine hoaxes as identified by the and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.

As part of the initiative, for its 2.32 billion global users, Facebook decided not to include pages that contained misinformation about in news feed, search, recommendations or predictions.

With over one billion users, decided to block content on vaccinations that could potentially contain wrong information from showing up in the explore tab and hashtag pages.

Fighting against the spread of misinformation on anti-vaccines, in March started removing anti-vaccine documentaries from its streaming service after a Business report highlighted the anti-vaccine comments available on the site.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, April 14 2019. 18:40 IST