Facebook bans ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated

Ads that advocate for or against legislation or government policies about vaccines are still allowed.

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
Queenie Wong
2 min read

Facebook is cracking down on people who try to discourage others not to get vaccinated. 

Image by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Facebook said Tuesday it will bar ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated, a move that shows the company is cracking down on health misinformation amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"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," Facebook executives said in a blog post

The company said it will still allow ads that advocate for or against legislation or government policies about vaccines, including one for the respiratory illness COVID-19. Facebook already prohibits ads that contain vaccine hoaxes flagged by global health groups. 

Health misinformation has been a concern on social networks before the coronavirus outbreak. Last year, users opposed to vaccines used Facebook to spread misinformation in groups where members have to be approved, making it tough for the social network to police this content, according to The Guardian. Misinformation about vaccines on social media may have contributed to an outbreak of measles in the US last year. 

Misinformation about vaccines continues to be a concern as pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. Facebook said it's also launching a new tool that directs users to information about how and where to get the flu vaccine. The company will also be reminding users to get their flu vaccine on their news feed and in an online hub about COVID. Facebook said it's starting the effort this week in the US and plans to expand it globally.

"Public health officials recommend that most people get a flu shot every year. This year, they think it is especially important to minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19," Facebook said. 

Meanwhile, Facebook said it's teaming up with global health organizations on vaccine education campaigns. 

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