“Now, if an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it,” Facebook’s Director of Product Management Rob Leathern and Head of Health Kang-Xing Jin stated in a blog post on Tuesday.
The new vaccine ad ban follows a series of policy changing announcements by the tech giant to purge the social media platform of content that is deemed problematic and that it previously hesitated to take action against.
This includes an announcement this week about banning Holocaust denial content, along with last week’s ban on pages and groups that spread the QAnon conspiracy theory, also a temporary political ads ban following the November 3 U.S. election, and last month’s ban on any ads that are deemed to be delegitimatizing U.S. election results, there was also a decision last month aimed at stopping the spread of groups on its social network that has a focus on giving users health advice.
Facebook said that ads advocating against government policies about vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, will still be allowed.
For example, Facebook said it will allow ads such as the ones a Virginia state delegate candidate started running in August that includes language saying “STOP FORCED CORONAVIRUS VACCINATIONS! … All medications have risks, and we believe discussion alone of mandating a vaccine before it’s released, without knowing if there are long-term side effects, is both premature and dangerous” would still be allowed.
However, ads explicitly discouraging getting vaccines that include portraying them as unsafe or ineffective, along with other things, will be banned.
“If an ad that advocates for/against legislation or government policies explicitly discourages a vaccine, it will be rejected.”
“That includes portraying vaccines as useless, ineffective, unsafe or unhealthy, describing the diseases vaccines are created for as harmless, or the ingredients in vaccines as harmful or deadly,” A Facebook spokesperson said.
The blog post also explained Facebook’s plans to guide people toward general information about the flu vaccine and how to get one, using the platform’s “Preventive Health” tool.
Facebook also mentioned it has been working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF “on public health messaging campaigns to increase immunization rates.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.