Social media giant Facebook brings a change in its policy concerning what goes on the site and what will be barred. Now Facebook will not let any ad that discourages vaccination from being up on the platform. This is part of Facebook’s new public health campaign that is aimed at spreading flu vaccine information. In a blog post on Tuesday, Kang-Xing Jin, Head of Health, and Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management, wrote that the platform would extend three-fold help to support the vaccine efforts put in by public health experts.
The new flu vaccine information campaign will include new product features that provide additional vaccine-related content; Facebook will be rejecting ads globally that discourage people from getting a vaccine. Lastly, the firm will work with global health partners on campaigns to increase immunization rates.
As a tested vaccine for COVID-19 is still not available, public health workers think that getting the flu shot will minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19, according to Facebook. The platform will be sharing information on how to get a flu shot and what are its advantages. They will also provide the nearest location to get the US vaccine using the Preventive Health Tool. The feature is getting released in the US this week, with Facebook claims that other countries will soon receive the feature.
Speaking on banning the anti-vaccination ads, Facebook said that their “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.” However, it would still allow ads that advocate for or against the government’s stand on vaccines, but advertisers need to identify themselves. Anyone running these ads has to get authorized, and the advert will include a ‘Paid for by’ label.
The Guardian noted that several ads discouraging vaccine mandates remained on the platform as of Tuesday. But the blog mentions that the enforcement will take a few days. Also, it’s the phrasing of rejecting an ad that “explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine” can prove to be a loophole, and the new policy’s fruitfulness is yet to be seen.