Facebook’s new campaign for flu vaccines.
Facebook said Tuesday that it has launched a new global policy that bans ads that discourage people from receiving vaccines. Previously, the company had a policy against vaccine fraud, which was publicly identified by global health organizations.
“Now, if the ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we will reject it,”
The new ban comes amid a series of policy changes announced by the company to free its social networks from problematic content, which it had previously been reluctant to remove. These include a Holocaust denial ban announced earlier this week, a ban on QAnon conspiracy theories and groups last week, a temporary ban on political ads after the Nov. 3 election in the United States, a ban last month on any ads that seek to delegitimize the results of the US election and a decision last month to stop the spread of groups on its social network that focus on giving health advice to consumers.
Facebook will still allow ads that defend government vaccine policies, including the Covid-19 vaccine.
For example, Facebook said it would allow ads such as those launched by the Virginia State Delegate in August, which included the language “STOP FORCED CORONAVIR VACCINATIONS!” … All drugs have risks and we believe that the discussion of just vaccinating it is released, without knowing if it has long-term side effects, is both premature and dangerous. “
An ad posted by Isaiah Knight on Facebook.
Advertisements that explicitly discourage vaccines – including portraying them as ineffective or dangerous, among other things, will be banned.
“If advertising that advocates for / against legislation or government policies explicitly discourages the vaccine, it will be rejected,” a spokesman told CNBC. “This includes portraying vaccines as useless, ineffective, dangerous or unhealthy, describing the diseases for which the vaccines were developed as harmless or the ingredients in the vaccines as harmful or deadly.”
The blog post also outlines the platform’s plans to guide people with general information about the flu vaccine and how to get it using its Preventive Health tool.
He also said he was working with the World Health Organization and UNICEF “on public health communications campaigns to increase immunization levels.”
However, at least one researcher suggests that Facebook’s move is a case of too little, too late.
“I think a lot of vaccine [hesitancy] researchers know the potential that Facebook has to promote vaccine variability, “said Colina Coltay, a vaccine researcher at the Center for Informed Public at the University of Washington.
“This is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done to repair the damage already done.” Moreover, Koltai pointed out that there is still a very volatile content of vaccines in groups and pages.
– Christina Farr from CNBC contributed to this report.