Fb says it can lastly ban anti-vaccination advertisements


Facebook's new flu vaccination campaign.


Facebook announced Tuesday that it was rolling out a new global policy banning ads that discourage people from getting vaccines. The company previously had a policy against vaccination fraud, publicly identified by global health organizations.

"If an advertisement specifically discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we reject it," said the company's health director, Kang-Xing Jin, and director of product management, Rob Leathern, in a blog post on Tuesday.

The new ban comes amid a series of policy changes the company announced to rid its social networks of problematic content that it was previously hesitant to lift. This includes a ban on Holocaust denialism announced earlier this week, a ban on sites and groups advocating the QAnon conspiracy theory last week, a temporary ban on political ads after the November 3rd and US elections a ban on ads last month seeking to delegitimize the results of the US election and a decision last month to stop the proliferation of groups on his social network focused on giving health advice to users.

Facebook will continue to allow ads opposing government policies regarding vaccines, including the Covid-19 vaccine.

For example, Facebook said it would allow ads like the ones launched by a state delegate candidate in Virginia in August, including the language, "STOP FORCED CORONAVIRUS VACCINATIONS! … All drugs have risks, and we believe the discussion alone about prescribing a vaccine beforehand It's premature and dangerous without knowing if there will be long-term side effects. "

Isaiah Knight's ad on Facebook.

However, advertisements that explicitly discourage vaccines – including those found to be ineffective or unsafe – will be banned.

"If an ad campaigning for / against laws or government policies specifically discourages a vaccine, it will be rejected," a CNBC spokesman wrote. "This includes portraying vaccines as useless, ineffective, unsafe or unhealthy, describing the diseases for which vaccines are made as harmless, or describing the ingredients of vaccines as harmful or deadly."

The blog post also outlined the platform's plans to provide people with general information about the flu vaccine and how to get it using the Preventive Health tool.

It also said it was working with the World Health Organization and UNICEF "on public health messaging campaigns to increase vaccination rates".

However, at least one researcher suggested that the Facebook move was too little and too late.

"I think many researchers who hesitate to vaccines understand the potential Facebook has to encourage vaccine hesitation," said Kolina Koltai, a vaccine researcher at the University of Washington's Center for an Informed Public.

"This is a step in the right direction, but much remains to be done to correct the damage that has already been done." Additionally, Koltai pointed out that there is still a lot of vaccine-reluctant content in groups and pages.

–Christina Farr contributed to this report.


Steven Gregory