Facebook has now banned anti-vaccination or anti-vax ads from its platform, as part of its recent flu vaccine information campaign.
The social media giant is launching a new flu vaccine information campaign to provide vaccine-related information and content to users. Banning anti-vaccination ads from its platform is a part of this campaign from the social media company.
The decision comes in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company says that medicine for the virus may not be there yet, but basic shots can increase immunity in people. At this point, we do need better immunity so that we’re less vulnerable to COVID-19 or other diseases.
Facebook And Antivax
‘Anti-vaxxer’ is a person who doesn’t believe vaccinations are important for humans. Lately, there has been an increase in anti-vax supporters around the world. They either believe vaccines are no good, and that humans, even children don’t need flu shots or any other vaccines.
It’s safe to say that Facebook has mixed feelings about anti-vaxxers or people who are against vaccination. About a month ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he won’t take down anti-vaccination posts as they’re a matter of ‘perspective.’ In the past, he has actively supported the expression of free speech on his platform saying everyone has a right to express their views.
However, now the company has gone ahead to ban anti-vax ads and start a pro-vax campaign, so to speak. Facebook encouraging people to get vaccinated is basically the company taking a stand against anti-vax people.
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There’s a darker side to the anti-vaxxer population. Some anti-vax supporters believe that vaccines cause autism and mental illnesses in children. Others believe that big pharma companies are relying on placebo effects for people to feel better, and that the vaccines are useless.
Back in February, CBS reported a story where members of an anti-vax group on Facebook, advised the mother of a 4-year old against vaccination. The child later died of the flu. Many such instances haunt social media as people lose children and family members as they choose to not vaccinate them.
All in all, anti-vax movements have mustered support in Europe and the USA as well. Facebook, when asked to take down anti-vax posts, declined to do so earlier. Finally, the company has decided to give in and ban anti-vax advertisements.
Facebook, WHO, UNICEF, And Politics
The social media giant isn’t stopping at just getting rid of anti-vax ads (which it should’ve done years ago). Facebook is also working with the WHO and UNICEF on public health messaging campaigns. The social media platform said it’ll work with the organizations on vaccine education campaigns.
Another side of the story can be Facebook’s stand on political content. The company clearly denied to take down false claims and misleading advertisements from political parties. If similar action can be delivered to propaganda and hate speech on Facebook, it’d make the platform less toxic.