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Facebook has finally blocked the #vaccineskill hashtag

Why did it take so long?

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Image: Unsplash

By this point, it’s no real surprise that Facebook still doesn’t do enough to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform. Now, the company has at least decided to take one small step in the right direction by blocking the hashtag ‘#vaccineskill’ from the platform’s search function.

While this is certainly a good move, it seems to have taken a while for the platform to take action. According to a new report from CNN, the hashtag was still active as of last Sunday.

The hashtag hasn’t been completely banned from the platform either. Instead, all posts using the hashtag have just been blocked from the search function.

Now, when you search for this hashtag, you are greeted with a message informing you that Facebook is “keeping our community safe,” with the additional message that some content that uses the hashtag “goes against our community standards.”

Of course, it seems pretty obvious that this hashtag would go against community standards because of misinformation. What’s not obvious is why it took so long for Facebook to finally block it. We are coming up on 18 months since the initial panic of the pandemic began to set in, and that hashtag has been running rampant that entire time.

As a point of reference, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, blocked the hashtag more than two years ago. Why it took Facebook so long to finally take care of the problem is a mystery.

The only explanation I can think of for why it would block the hashtag now is that the company was feeling the pressure from the White House, which recently said that social platforms need to do more to combat misinformation on their sites.

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