Facebook recently announced that it will begin to systematically remove advertisements for any type of coronavirus-related prevention method in an effort to avoid the panic and expectation that has taken place in the face of the virus’s spread.
According to statements made by a Facebook representative to Forbes magazine, those ads “that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention,” will be removed.
The policies assumed by the company were established in response to the measures by the World Health Organization (WHO), which established that erroneous recommendations on medicines or precautionary measures against the virus could be dangerous to your health.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said weeks ago that priorities were focused on containing the virus in the epicenter in China so that spread outside that country would be minimal, yet the outbreak ended up being declared a global health emergency.
Therefore, as the number of infections has been increasing in other countries and concerns about a pandemic scenario grow, the company confirmed last Thursday that it would impose restrictions on “false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities.”
The measure is part of the repeated efforts that the company has employed against content that offers unverified health information, establishing restrictions on search results and advertising, while allowing the display of the original ads.
Such an approach has provoked criticism by those who claim that Facebook has failed to stop the spread of false news regarding threats to global health, reported Reuters.
In recent years, privacy policies led the company to censor a large amount of information related to a vaccine developed to contain a measles outbreak, which killed dozens of people in Samoa last year.
The decision was made on the premise that the situation on the island in the South Pacific was so serious that any inaccuracy posed a risk of physical harm, with such a decision considered as an “extreme action,” according to Reuters.
Similarly, Facebook previously removed all information related to polio vaccines in Pakistan, which according to a representative, posed an imminent risk of violence against health workers carrying out immunization campaigns.