By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Facebook announced a new policy that prohibits advertisements on the platform that discourage people from getting vaccines, as part of a new effort to encourage people to get flu shots amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We don’t want these ads on our platform,” Kang-Xing Jin, the company’s head of health and Rob Leathern, the director of product management, said in a blog post Tuesday.
The post added that while they already don’t allow ads featuring vaccine hoaxes, “Now, if an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it.”
Moreover, the social media giant announced the launch of a new campaign to provide information about flu vaccines to users, and pledged to work with “global health partners on campaigns to increase immunization rates,” Jin and Leathern said.
This effort comes as health authorities urge people to prioritize getting a flu shot this year to both prevent twin infections of the flu and coronavirus and to minimize the potential strain on resources amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Facebook’s policy, however, stops short of banning posts or other types of content on the platform that discourages vaccines. It also does not ban political ads that “advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines — including a COVID-19 vaccine,” Jin and Leathern wrote.
“We’ll continue to require anyone running these ads to get authorized and include a ‘Paid for by’ label so people can see who is behind them,” the blog post stated.
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