Ads that Discourage People from Getting Vaccines will be Banned: Facebook

Facebook Inc is going to start banning ads that particularly demoralize people from getting vaccinated. This announcement was made by the world’s largest social media company on Tuesday, as it also declared the latest flu vaccine information campaign.

Pressure from Lawmakers and Public Health Groups

Ads that advocate in favor or against of legislation or government policies around vaccines, consisting of a COVID-19 vaccine, will still be permitted, the company stated in a blog post. It will start to impose the new global policy in the next few days.

Facebook, which holds 2.7 billion monthly active users, has been under persistent scrutiny from lawmakers and public health groups to do something about anti-vaccine content and misinformation on its platform. The company stated that although a COVID-19 vaccine would not be out for some time, the pandemic had pointed out the importance of preventative health behaviors.

Previous rules by Facebook barred ads that promoted vaccine misinformation or hoaxes identified by leading health organizations; however, the company allowed ads opposing vaccines if they were free from any sort of misinformation.

Facebook working with Public Health Partners

Jason Hirsch, Facebook’s Public Policy Manager said this summer that the company believed users should be allowed to express personal anti-vaccine views and that aggressive censorship could make people reluctant about vaccines towards the anti-vaccine camp.

This week, Facebook is going to start directing U.S. users to information about the flu vaccine and ways to receive it, according to the company’s Head of Health Kang-Xing Jin and Director of Product Management Rob Leathern in the blog post.

Facebook has joined forces with public health partners such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF on messaging campaigns to boost immunization rates.

Anti-vaccine content and misinformation regarding the latest COVID-19 vaccines are spreading like wild-fire on social media platforms consisting of Facebook during the coronavirus pandemic, according to researchers.

In September, the company also stated that it would avoid recommending health-related Facebook groups, saying it was very important that people get health information from “authoritative sources.”