Facebook to ban anti-vaccination ads in latest misinformation crackdown

by Peter Heck · Oct 14th, 2020 9:11 am
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Last Updated Oct 18th, 2020 at 8:49 pm

In another reversal of Facebook's longtime stance of neutrality controversial issues, the social media site announced it will no longer allow anti-vaccination ads on its platform.

Facebook's updated policy bans people or entities from purchasing ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated. This includes ads that portray vaccines as unsafe, useless, or ones that use harmful descriptions.

"Our goal is to help messages about the safety and efficacy of vaccines reach a broad group of people, while prohibiting ads with misinformation that could harm public health efforts. We don't want these ads on our platform," said Facebook's head of health initiatives, Kang-Xing Jin, in a blog post.

After facing criticism for permitting harmful misinformation to spread across its site, Facebook has increasingly limited forms of content it deems inappropriate. The company will now no longer accept posts that deny the Holocaust and recently expanded a crackdown on QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement. The suspension of political advertising will also be enforced by Facebook after the November 3 election for an undetermined amount of time.

The increased bans on certain content and ad come as a surprise since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a longtime proponent of free speech, allowing all types of information to be shared on the social network. The policy change is part of the regular content re-evaluations across the site.

"We regularly refine our approach around ads that are about social issues to capture debates and discussions around sensitive topics happening on Facebook," Jin said. "Vaccines are no different. While we may narrow enforcement in some areas, we may expand it in others."


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