Matt Hancock will increase pressure on Facebook to tackle anti-vaccination propaganda after a report showed that almost 60 million people across the UK and US subscribe to such content on the social network.
The UK health secretary will meet Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications, this week.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Labour MP Chris Elmore said anti-vaccination content on social media was an “ideological dirty bomb waiting to to go off”, and asked Hancock “to look at putting more investment into tackling these anti-vaxx sites”.
Hancock replied that Elmore’s warnings were “absolutely right”, adding: “He and I are passionately of one voice on this … People who propagate untrue myths about vaccines are putting lives at risk.
“The social media companies have an important responsibility, and they have taken some action already and I pay tribute to them for that. In fact, I have a meeting later this week with Mr Nick Clegg, who is in a position of responsibility with Facebook.”
“It’s not only Facebook and Instagram – who have taken action, but we’ll be discussing what more action can be taken to make sure that people who are propagating lies about vaccines do not manage to spread those lies.”