Social media posts spreading 'hatred, misinformation' about polio vaccination removed

Published May 10, 2019
The Prime Minister's Focal Person on Polio Eradication Babar bin Atta on Friday said that a large number of posts on social media that were spreading propaganda about the polio vaccine have been removed.
 — AFP/File
The Prime Minister's Focal Person on Polio Eradication Babar bin Atta on Friday said that a large number of posts on social media that were spreading propaganda about the polio vaccine have been removed. — AFP/File

Prime Minister's Focal Person on Polio Eradication Babar bin Atta on Friday said that a large number of posts on social media that were spreading "hatred and misinformation" about polio vaccination have been removed.

In a statement today, Atta said that a large number of Facebook posts, hundreds of videos from YouTube and tweets have been removed. He added that Google has also issued a warning to those who were spreading anti-polio vaccine content on YouTube and that the process of issuing warnings is ongoing.

Atta said that the government has decided to speed up legal prosecution following a long video conference with Facebook officials.

Read: ‘Polio programme failed to deal with recent disinformation campaign’

In a post shared on Twitter on Thursday, Atta confirmed that social media platforms, including Facebook, had started to delete and block some of the material "spreading hatred and misinformation regarding polio vaccines in Pakistan".

The focal person on polio eradication had earlier written a letter to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

In a letter to Atta yesterday, following his meeting with the PTA chairman, the telecommunication authority provided a summary of anti-vaccination links that been blocked as of May 9:

  • Facebook: 130
  • Twitter: 14
  • YouTube: 30

As a whole, 174 anti-vaccination links have been blocked so far.

Last week, Pakistan had urged Facebook to remove harmful polio-related content from the social networking site, saying it was jeopardising eradication initiatives and putting the lives of vaccinators at risk.

In recent months social media in the country has been inundated with fake news reports and videos — garnering thousands of views and shares in the last week alone — claiming numerous children have been killed by the polio vaccine. Thousands of parents have refused to allow their children to be inoculated.

At least three people were killed in the last country-wide anti-polio campaign in April.

The violence coincided with an outbreak of hysteria in cities across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after rumours of children suffering from adverse reactions to a polio vaccine sparked panic, with tens of thousands rushed to hospitals.

Opinion

Is it child abuse?
24 Sep 2021

Is it child abuse?

The SNC’s language mix doesn’t address our children’s emotional needs.
The gathering storm
Updated 24 Sep 2021

The gathering storm

The growing US-China rivalry has transformed the geopolitical scene, in particular the Asian strategic landscape.
New realities and challenges
Updated 23 Sep 2021

New realities and challenges

Will the Afghan Taliban entrust to the UN the responsibility of receiving and disbursing all aid?

Editorial

24 Sep 2021

Costs of growth

IS Pakistan’s growth party over? Not yet. But both the State Bank and government are now cutting down on the items...
Smear campaign
Updated 24 Sep 2021

Smear campaign

It is commendable that the government has taken the matter as seriously as it has, and delved deep into cyber investigations.
24 Sep 2021

Rising dengue cases

THE dengue monster is once again rearing its head in different cities of Punjab. More than 820 cases have surfaced ...
Dialogue, at last
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Dialogue, at last

The govt has attempted to make the ECP controversial at a time when its input is critical for the poll reforms
AUKUS controversy
Updated 23 Sep 2021

AUKUS controversy

Instead of flexing its military muscle, the Western bloc needs to engage China at the negotiating table.
Provocative act
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Provocative act

Afghan Taliban flags have been found hoisted at Jamia Hafsa seminary three times since Aug 21.