Facebook has announced that it will no longer be business as usual with ads that are targeted at discouraging the use of vaccines. This could not have come at a better time considering the fact that the flu season is before us. The world is also racing against time to find a vaccine for the COVID-19 that has killed a lot of people globally.
“Today, we’re launching a new global policy that prohibits ads discouraging people from getting vaccinated. We don’t want these ads on our platform,” Kang-Xing Jin, Heald of health and Rob Leathern director of product management at Facebook wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
There is a proliferation of anti-vaccine groups on Facebook and the social media wants to act fast to stop the current skepticism about vaccines for the coronavirus.
Facebook is doing this in conjunction with UNICEF; a partnership both hope would bear desired results in the long and short term.
“Vaccines have always been a global priority for UNICEF, and will be even more so as the world continues to battle COVID-19. Building demand for vaccination in communities worldwide is key to saving lives. Our collaboration with Facebook is part of our efforts to address vaccine misinformation and share resonant and reassuring information on vaccination,” said Diane Summers, Senior Advisor, Vaccine Acceptance & Demand, UNICEF
Enforcement may not begin until the next few days. This means such ads fighting against use of vaccines may still have a free reign until the policy comes into play.
On the contrary, Facebook says it will actively encourage ads that encourage the use of vaccines. This, according to the social media giant, will be in the form of promoting public information campaigns as well as directing users to vaccination sites through the use of its preventive health tool.
On Monday Facebook announced an update to its policy by banning Holocaust content on its platform. For years, Facebook had refused to bow to pressure and criticism from groups and individuals. The company claimed doing so would amount to suppressing free speech.
Facebook said it has now updated its hate speech policy to “prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust.” The company said its latest decision is a part of its latest effort aimed at fighting the spread of hate speech across all its platforms.
A couple of days ago, Facebook announced the extension it placed on QAnon-related content to all its social platforms. Recall that the social media giant had last August placed a ban on content related to QAnon–a group sympathetic to US President Donald Trump.