Oct 13, 2020 - Technology

Facebook bans anti-vaccine ads, but not organic misinformation

Illustration of a billboard with the facebook logo on it turning off

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook will ban anti-vaccine ads in an effort to combat misinformation and support public health experts, the social media platform announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The company now says it doesn't want these ads on its platform, but the policy does not apply to influencers who experts say drive a significant amount of organic misinformation about vaccines.

What they're saying: "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," the social media platform said.

  • "We already don’t allow ads with vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by leading global health organizations."
  • "Now, if an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it. Enforcement will begin over the next few days."
  • "Ads that advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines — including a COVID-19 vaccine — are still allowed."

The big picture: Americans' willingness to get a coronavirus vaccine dropped to 50% in late September, a dramatic 11-point fall from the previous month, according to the latest Gallup poll.

  • Public health experts say that mass distribution of the coronavirus vaccine will be the most important step toward a return to pre-COVID-19 normalcy.

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