Facebook is taking action against the Anti-vaccine movement, or Anti-Vaxxers, who oppose the taking of any vaccines. The social platform has prohibited ads discouraging people from getting vaccinated.
It is also launching a new Preventive Health tool which connects people to health resources and checkup recommendations from leading health organizations.
“We don’t want these ads on our platform,” says Facebook.
The move comes just days after Facebook announced a new ban on any Holocaust denial content. Civil libertarians and free speech advocates will in all likelihood condemn the move, but medical doctors are likely to applaud it.
Anti-Vaxxers have long been controversial as they call on parents not to have their children vaccinated against diseases like Measles or Mumps. They believe that vaccines are harmful and that people need to develop their natural immune systems, this in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary.
They have also opposed getting flu shots before the flu season. Their claims are especially harmful in the Covid-19 era since they would also oppose using a Corona Virus vaccine.
Facebook’s Kang-Xing Jin, Head of Health, and Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management, said in a statement:
“Public health officials recommend that most people get a flu shot every year. This year, they think it is especially important to minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19. To help, we’ll be directing people to general information about the flu vaccine and how to get it, including the nearest location to get the vaccine in the US using our Preventive Health Tool.”
At the same time Facebook is launching a new Preventive Health tool, which is currently only available in the U.S.
The company says that it is working with US health organizations to offer a new Preventive Health tool that connects people to health resources and checkup reminders. This tool is available in the US on the Facebook mobile app.
The checkups recommended in this tool are based on guidelines from the American Cancer Society, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facebook is starting with health checkups related to heart disease, cancer and flu. What is listed in Preventive Health is not an exhaustive list, and what is right for an individual may vary based on your family history and risk factors so the company recommends people talk to a health care provider to discuss their individual needs.