Empty Gesture? Facebook Bans Anti-Vaccine Ads But Allows Posts

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New Delhi: Facebook has decided to ban ads on its platform that discourage vaccinations, whereas advocacy ads about government vaccine policies will still run.

The social media conglomerate has already banned ads about vaccine “hoaxes” like vaccination causes autism and so on. With this new policy, the company will now disallow ads that discourage vaccines.

However, ads that “advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine,” will continue to get space on the platform. These ads will require the company’s approval as “political advertisements and include a ‘paid for by’ label on who is funding them”, reported Associated Press.

However, unpaid posts by anti-vaxxers that discourage vaccines will also be allowed by the platform.

Moreover, Facebook has promised to run an information campaign to encourage people to get their flu shots this year.

Although, not everyone thinks that the social media platform is doing enough. David A. Broniatowski, an associate professor at George Washington University–whose study published in 2019 found out that the majority of anti-vaccine misinformation pushed in advertisements on Facebook came from two groups, one led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and a California-based organization called Stop Mandatory Vaccination–said the company is unlikely to ban more than half the ads.

“Facebook by banning anti-vaccine ads is probably not banning more than half of the ads…I understand where they are coming from that they want to promote civil engagement but at the same time, if their intention is to reduce the amount of anti-vaccine misinformation, they are not addressing the largest source of that misinformation.” he was quoted as saying.

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