Facebook expands policy banning anti-vaccine ads

Photo (c) Pornpak Khynatorn - Getty Images

‘We don’t want these ads on our platform,’ the company said

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it’s banning ads that encourage people to avoid getting vaccines. 

Under its previous policy, Facebook didn’t allow organizations to run ads that made false claims about vaccines. Ads that outright discouraged or “expressed opposition” to vaccines were previously allowed, but now Facebook is taking action against these ads too.

“Today, we’re launching a new global policy that prohibits ads discouraging people from getting vaccinated,” Facebook said in a statement. “We don’t want these ads on our platform.”

The company added that the ban doesn’t apply to ads that “advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines.” It also won’t prevent non-paid misinformation about vaccines from appearing on users’ feeds. However, the company noted that it has already taken steps to make posts containing misinformation regarding vaccines less visible. 

Flu shot reminders

In announcing the new policy, Facebook also encouraged users to get flu shots. Facebook said it will begin showing flu shot reminders and information on its app within its new COVID-19 Information Center.

Facebook noted that public health officials think it’s “especially important” to get a flu shot this year in order to “minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of preventive health behaviors. While public health experts agree that we won’t have an approved and widely available COVID-19 vaccine for some time, there are steps that people can take to stay healthy and safe. That includes getting the seasonal flu vaccine,” the company said. 

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