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Facebook Will Block Ads Discouraging People From Vaccinating

Facebook will prohibit ads discouraging people from getting vaccines worldwide as it continues to fight covid-19 misinformation.

Facebook  (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report said on Tuesday that it will reject ads worldwide that discourage people from getting vaccines.

“If an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it. Enforcement will begin over the next few days,” Facebook said in a statement.

As part of its work to support vaccine efforts, the company will also work with global health partners on campaigns to increase immunization rates.

The Menlo Park, Calif., social-media giant this week in the U.S. will launch a new flu vaccine information campaign. The effort includes "new product features that provide additional vaccine-related content," the company said. The campaign will roll out in more countries as more features are added in coming weeks.

“Building demand for vaccination in communities worldwide is key to saving lives," said Diane Summers, senior adviser of vaccine acceptance and demand at Unicef, the U.N. advocate for children's health.

"Our collaboration with Facebook is part of our efforts to address vaccine misinformation and share resonant and reassuring information on vaccination.” 

Facebook already doesn’t allow ads with vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by the World Health Organization and the U.S. for Disease Control and Prevention.

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It will continue to allow ads that advocate for or against legislation of government policies around vaccines. People or organizations running these types of ads are required to get authorization and include a ‘Paid for by’ label so that people are aware of who is behind those ads.

To help minimize the risk of concurrent flu and covid-19, Facebook will direct users to general information about the flu vaccine and how to get it in the U.S. The site has what it calls a Preventive Health Tool.

Facebook will also share flu-vaccine reminders and resources from health authorities within the covid-19 information center throughout its news feed.

Additionally, Facebook said that it would work with global health organizations such as WHO and Unicef on vaccine education campaigns. These include public-health-messaging campaigns through WHO's network of vaccine partners.

To better understand and analyze how people discuss vaccines, Facebook Data for Good Program will use Facebook’s public-insights platform CrowdTangle as a tool to share collective insights from public posts to build public trust in vaccines. 

Facebook has already launched pilot vaccine messaging work with Unicef across 10 countries.

Last week, Facebook said it was stepping up its efforts against QAnon and militarized social movements. The company said it “will remove all Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content.”

And yesterday Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, reversing a position from two years ago, said the social-media platform would ban posts that deny the Holocaust.