Facebook on Thursday introduced a new feature called ‘Keyword Snooze’ in News Feed that will allow users to hide certain keywords that they don’t want to see for 30 days.
The feature is a variant of another option to “snooze” people and pages you do not want to see which was introduced 2017.
Located in a post’s upper right-hand menu in News Feed, the “Keyword Snooze” feature gives people the option to temporarily hide posts by keywords, which are pulled directly from text in that post.
“If you choose to ‘snooze’ a keyword, you won’t see posts in your News Feed containing that exact word or phrase from any person, Page or Group for 30 days,” Shruthi Muraleedharan, News Feed Product Manager, said in a blog post.
If you see a post with the offending keyword, you can select the option to snooze keywords from the post in the drop-down menu on the top right.
Facebook has enabled advertisers to promote anti-vaccine content to nearly nine lakh people interested in “vaccine controversies”, the media reported.
The social networking giant is already facing pressure to stop promoting anti-vaccine propaganda to users amid global concern over vaccine hesitancy and a measles outbreak in the Pacific northwest.
Advertisers pay to reach groups of people on Facebook which include those interested in “Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines”, which refers to anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny, and “informed consent”, which is language that anti-vaccine propagandists have adopted to fight vaccination laws, The Guardian reported on Friday.
On Thursday, California congressman Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, in letters to Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, urged them to take more responsibility for health-related misinformation on their platforms.
“The algorithms which power these services are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues,” Schiff wrote.
“I am concerned by the report that Facebook accepts paid advertising that contains deliberate misinformation about vaccines,” he added.
In 2017, ProPublica, a US-based non-profit organisation, revealed that the platform included targeting categories for people interested in a number of anti-Semitic phrases, such as “How to burn Jews” or “Jew hater”.
While the anti-Semitic categories found by ProPublica were automatically generated and were too small to run effective ad campaigns by themselves, the “vaccine controversies” category contains nearly nine lakh people, and “informed consent” from about 340,000. The Tenpenny category only includes 720 people, which is too few to run a campaign.
Facebook declined to comment on the ad targeting categories, but said it was looking into the issue, The Guardian reported.