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Facebook removes anti-vaccine ‘fake news’ in Israel, government says

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Facebook has taken down content that spread lies in Israel against coronavirus vaccinations because the government seeks to collect support for the program, the Justice Ministry said on Sunday.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the primary person to be vaccinated in Israel. Opinion polls show some two-thirds of the general public want to imitate.

Actions against fake news

The Justice Ministry said that, at its request, Facebook took down four groups at the weekend that had disseminated texts, photographs and videos with “deliberately mendacious content designed to mislead about coronavirus vaccines”. Such “fake news” includes arguments that the use of the vaccine is to plant government tracking chips in recipients’ bodies. Including to poison them and thus cull the population or to subject them to medical experimentation, the ministry said during a statement. A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed they have taken down 4 Hebrew-speaking groups as a part of the company’s policy against “spreading misinformation regarding the vaccines”.

Israeli officials say the country has enough vaccines on order by year’s end. Therefore, for guarding the foremost vulnerable 20% of the population and so lift some coronavirus curbs. But worry that turnout can be dampened if people get false information about the inoculations.

Israel began administering vaccines to medical staff on Sunday. At Tel Aviv Sourasky medical centre, dozens of doctors and nurses danced as they prepared to receive their injections.

Next in line are elderly Israelis or those in high-risk groups. The broader adult population is slated to induce shots in early 2021.

With a population of 9 million, Israel has logged 373,368 coronavirus cases and 3,074 deaths. It has imposed two national lockdowns and is mulling new curbs on high-contagion areas.

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