At least five anti-cancer groups are no longer allowed to use Facebook. They were banned from the platform for promoting pseudoscience that calls for genetic research to improve our chances of surviving cancer, according to the Verge.
Nourish a Life, The National Council for Research to Prevent and Cure Cancer (NCRPC), Mercatus Center, The Taxpayer Advocate, and Atlas Movement were all banned by Facebook's "Sharing Community Standards" policy because of their pages' promotion of non-scientific research.
They are guilty of "promoting false information about cancer, including the uses of medical procedures and testimonials about the effectiveness of treatment," the Verge explains.
This version of pseudoscience originated from the Internet's early days and was often promoted by conspiracy theorists who accused the government of using vaccines to control the population, according to the Verge.
According to an article by The New Yorker, in 1996, the online anti-vaxxers claimed "that scientists had 'secretly' developed chloral hydrate in order to turn the body's immune system into a door that could be opened to infect us with disease."
These kind of conspiracy theories have morphed over the years, as seen by these complaints against Nourish a Life and NRCPC. The anti-cancer groups now make dubious claims that screening for genomic mutations could help cancer patients.
While these topics are sparking worldwide debates, most oncologists will tell you that genetic testing is not a cure-all.
The Verge reports that Nourish a Life boasted numerous video testimonials that claim, among other things, that screening for mutations in the C9orf72 gene can save lives. But most cancer studies have shown that if a cancer patient has a mutated C9orf72 gene, but it has not been found, testing will still not help, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Taxpayer Advocate, a U.S. government agency that advocates for federal taxpayers, states in its complaint that the group spends more than 10 percent of its revenue on "global medical disease advertising" — a major violation of the social network's policies.
And this is just one of many steps Facebook has taken to crack down on disinformation online. Earlier this year, the company denied Russian influence on its platform following a report by The New York Times, and began removing accounts with suspect ties.
Facebook has long had an embattled history with misinformation on its platform. In February, Wired pointed out that the company deleted its algorithm without an explanation, leaving its social network creator, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in the dark. But Zuckerberg responded by rebranding "fake news" as "political ideology." He attempted to appeal to the likes of Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin's opinion of himself by saying, "I would also say, when it comes to political opinion, so long as a person is expressing an opinion, you shouldn't be treated differently based on that opinion."
In light of this second apology, and the high-profile killing of political commentator and gay man, XXXTentacion, Facebook has decided to implement stricter standards to prevent the spread of fake information.
That these groups were banned will still lead to controversial claims as some may attempt to make connections between the groups' ban and the LGBTQ+ community's treatment by their government.
To put it into perspective, the tech giant announced the size of its workforce this year, that they fired 600 employees, and also made a $2 billion donation to public charities.
These aforementioned groups have not been denied use on Facebook, and have simply been banned for promoting pseudo-science, in contradiction to the tech firm's policy and new steps taken by the company to avoid spreading misinformation.