Facebook bans ads that discourage vaccination, but not anti-vaccine posts

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Facebook has unveiled a new global policy around ads related to public health. The social networking giant is banning ads that dissuade people from getting vaccinated for any reason.

The company noted that it already bans ads containing hoaxes about vaccines as debunked by health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest move expands Facebook’s efforts to clamp down on health-related ads that spread misinformation, which could undermine public health initiatives.

Facebook will implement the new policy in the next few days, with some exceptions. For instance, it won’t cover unpaid posts by anyone trying to discourage vaccination. It also does not apply to advocacy ads about government policies on vaccines. The company maintains that it will still have to approve these ads before they go live and that they must include a “paid for by” information to identify who funds them.

In addition, Facebook is working with global health organizations like WHO and UNICEF to disseminate information on vaccines to various communities. The goal is to help increase the number of people receiving vaccines.

Also starting this week in the U.S., the social network company will run an information drive that will encourage people to get their flu shots this year. This campaign will appear both in the News Feed and through Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center. The company says it will expand this effort to more countries in the next few weeks.

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