First Facebook banned political ads after the polls close on Nov. 3. Now the social media giant is targeting an entirely different set of promotions: anti-vaccination ads, which will no longer be allowed on the platform, the Guardian reports. "We don't want these ads on our platform," the company said in a Tuesday blog post. "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." Facebook says it already turns away ads that, as determined by such groups as the CDC and the World Health Organization, contain outright vaccination hoaxes, including that vaccines cause autism, per ABC News. But now it's taking things a step further, barring ads that even discourage people from getting vaccinated.
Still permitted on the site are ads that lobby for or against government policies or legislation on vaccination, though now Facebook will put a "paid for" label on each ad so users can see who's funding such promotions. Facebook groups will also still be allowed to host anti-vaccination content and conversations. "If we removed all rumors and hoaxes, the content would still be available elsewhere on the internet, social media ecosystem, or even around the dinner table," a spokesman tells the Guardian. "By leaving this content up, we can provide people with important information and context instead of creating an information vacuum." Facebook also said in its post that it's starting a public health campaign to encourage people to get their flu shots—especially important this year as flu season collides with a likely uptick in coronavirus cases. (Read more Facebook stories.)