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CEO DATELINE – American Medical Association urges tech giants to combat anti-vaccine content

March 14, 2019
By Walt Williams

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The American Medical Association sent an open letter to some of the nation’s largest technology companies on Wednesday asking them to combat vaccine “misinformation” on their platforms.

In the letter, AMA CEO James Madara notes the recent re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S., such as measles, which has been attributed to parents refusing to vaccinate their children because of anti-vaccination information they’ve seen online. The letter was sent to the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

“As physicians, we are concerned that the proliferation of this type of health-related misinformation will undermine sound science, further decrease vaccinations, and persuade people to make medical decisions that could spark the spread of easily preventable diseases,” Madara said.

The CEO urged the platforms to “do your part to ensure that users have access to scientifically valid information on vaccinations” given social media is a leading source of information for many Americans.

“In order to protect our communities’ health, it is important that people be aware not just that these diseases still exist and can still debilitate and kill, but that vaccines are a safe, proven way to protect against them,” Madara said.

Facebook recently announced it would crack down on anti-vaccination content and block ads with vaccine misinformation, USA Today reported. In addition, Pinterest announced in February it was blocking all searches about vaccinations to stop the spread of anti-vaccination content.