Facebook will encourage users to get the flu jab and ban ads that “discourage people from getting a vaccine.” The ban is the latest effort by the firm to restrict fringe content, after banning Holocaust denial and QAnon posts.
The social media giant announced its new policy in a blog post on Tuesday, saying that “enforcement will begin over the next few days.” Advertisements about vaccine policy and legislation will still be allowed, but the funders of such ads will be clearly labeled on the site.
The move expands Facebook’s existing policy of rejecting “ads with vaccine hoaxes” that have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Silicon Valley behemoth will also partner with the WHO and UNICEF to “build public trust in vaccines” in areas of the world where uptake is low. In the US, Facebook will remind users to schedule a flu vaccination, and direct them to the nearest location for the jab. This campaign will be expanded to other countries in the coming weeks.
Facebook has long been accused by conservatives of censorship, and has been particularly active in clamping down on fringe content in recent weeks. The platform expanded its hate speech policy on Monday to include content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust,” and will redirect users searching for this content to “authoritative sources to get accurate information,” in the words of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.