The battle Facebook wages against the spread of fake news and misinformation could be set to expand to include removing anti-vaccination content from the social network.
Facebook's statement said it would work to reduce and remove the information from recommendations and group suggestions in the app, according to Bloomberg.
Facebook is aggressively being used by anti-vaccination advocates to target pregnant women with sponsored advertisements to spread false information and conspiracy theories as the USA battles a climbing measles outbreak.
The changes Facebook said it will make were prompted by Representative Adam Schiff who wrote a letter to Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg asking him to provide information on how he was promoting medically accurate information on Facebook.
"The algorithms which power these services are not created to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues".
The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, imposed a state of emergency across the entire state after a measles outbreak saw 48 people contract the disease.
Less than 20 years ago, measles in the US was classified as a eradicated disease with only a few hundred cases nationwide, according to the Journal of Infectious Diseases. "We have more to do, and will continue efforts to provide educational information on important topics like health".
"I am concerned by the report that Facebook accepts paid advertising that contains deliberate misinformation about vaccines", he added.
Health-related content is eligible to be reviewed by Facebook's fact-checking partners, meaning that content found to be misleading or false will be demoted in users' feeds and appear along with related articles from fact-checkers. The viral spread of anti-vaccine groups on the social network has been blamed - at least partly - for outbreaks of measles in the US.
The World Health Organization listed "vaccine hesitancy", which is the reluctance or refusal to get vaccinated despite its availability, one of the top 10 threats of 2019. On Facebook, for instance, you can easily find anti-vaxxer groups with a simple search. The bulk of anti-vaccination content doesn't violate Facebook's community guidelines for inciting "real-world harm", according to a spokesperson, and the site's algorithms often promote unscientific pages or posts about the issue.
"We're now working on additional changes that we'll be announcing soon", the company said in its email.