Information from the World Health Organization will show up
Ashley Carman | The Verge
Pinterest will now give visitors accurate information about vaccines and their safety when they type in a relevant search term. In an update today, the company says it will now surface reliable information sourced from various scientific organizations whenever someone searches for vaccine-related terms, like “measles” or “vaccine safety.”
Among the organizations whose information will show up is the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the WHO-established Vaccine Safety Net (VSN), which is a network of websites that provide vaccine safety information in multiple languages.
The feature is going live today for English-speaking searchers on the web and Pinterest’s mobile apps for iOS and Android. The company says it’ll continue to expand the feature to other searches and in more languages. Pinterest says it’s also working with these organizations to create compelling, science-based images about vaccination that could presumably have a higher chance of being shared.
Earlier this year, Pinterest stopped returning any results for vaccine-related search terms. Before the team made that decision, most of the shared vaccination images on the platform warned against it, the company said at the time. Other platforms have struggled to contain vaccine-related misinformation. YouTube stopped running ads on anti-vaccine content (but it still allows it on the platform), while Facebook removes groups and pages that share anti-vaccine misinformation from its recommendations. Twitter now surfaces information from the United States Department of Health and Human Services whenever people search for information, which is similar to Pinterest’s update.
Pinterest hasn’t shied away from making bold search decisions, even if it means obscuring some users’ content. If someone types in terms like “suicide,” “bulimia,” “mutilation,” or “cutting,” they’ll be pointed toward a message like, “Are you struggling with an eating disorder? Help is available” or a message directing them to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (which is 1-800-273-8255). The team is taking more of a hands-on approach to misinformation problems and specifically breaking the cycle of the inaccurate viral posts that point people toward even more baseless information.