Facebook Algorithm Updates Aim to Weed Out False Health Claims

Facebook has announced a new offensive strategy for combating pesky false health advertisements and posts within the News Feed.

Ads such as those that promise rapid weight loss, “get skinny tricks,” or other false claims will now be the subject of Facebook’s attention. Facebook announced the plan through a public statement, explaining:


“Last month we made two ranking updates to reduce the reach of posts with exaggerated or sensational health claims and posts attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims. For the first update, we consider if a post about health exaggerates or misleads – for example, making a sensational claim about a miracle cure.  For the second, we consider if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim – for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.” 


This statement is reassuring for consumers because Facebook is now working to ensure their experience on the platform is genuine and safe. However, for business owners, it is imperative (now more than ever) to be cautious when wording advertisements and posts so as to not fall under the umbrella of “sensational health claims.”


Facebook continues to explain how they plan to eliminate the appearance of these posts:


“We’ve handled this in a similar way to how we’ve previously reduced low-quality content like clickbait: by identifying phrases that are commonly used in these posts to predict which might include sensational health claims or promotion of products with health-related claims, and then showing these lower in News Feed.”


This is an important step for Facebook, who in the past has been accused of letting “fake news” run rampant on the platform. As the most popular social platform in the world, it is essential that Facebook develop these plans to police against internet trolls and scammers. However, many have claimed that Facebook’s clear disapproval of exaggerated health claims is in violation of the right to free speech.


For business owners, this particular section from the statement is essential:

“Posts with sensational health claims or solicitation using health-related claims will have reduced distribution. Pages should avoid posts about health that exaggerate or mislead people and posts that try to sell products using health-related claims. If a Page stops posting this content, their posts will no longer be affected by this change.”


For businesses in the health-field, caution is the word. Take careful precautions in posting and ensure that you’re following with Facebook regulations so as to not have your Page removed.


How do you feel about Facebook’s statement? Is it protection or a violation of rights? Let us know below!

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