Facebook on Tuesday said it would no longer allow ads that discourage vaccinations, adding to a growing list of content the tech giant has started to crack down on recently.
“If an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it,” Facebook’s executives Kang-Xing Jin and Rob Leathern said in a blog post.
While ads calling into question the safety of vaccines are now banned, the company said ads “that advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines — including a COVID-19 vaccine — are still allowed.”
For example, a recent ad from a state delicate candidate in Virginia saying “STOP FORCED CORONAVIRUS VACCINATIONS! … All medications have risks, and we believe discussion alone of mandating a vaccine before it’s released, without knowing if there’s long term side effects, is both premature and dangerous,” is still allowed under Facebook’s rules, as CNBC pointed out.
The updated rule from Facebook comes as a number of companies are rushing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to market. It also comes after Facebook has made several other policy changes of late, including banning Holocaust denial on Monday. (Bloomberg later reported the policy didn’t apply to other genocides, like the Armenian genocide.)
“I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Monday. “My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence.”
Facebook also recently said it would ban political ads for one week once polling closes on election day, in order to safeguard against ads claiming premature election victories, and last week said it all QAnon conspiracy content was now banned.