In the latest headache for the Big Tech giant Facebook, the platform’s implementation of a ban on political ads has unintentionally blocked pro-vaccine posts from government officials as well, as reported by Politico.
Since September of 2020, more than 110 various Facebook pages that posted information about the vaccine itself, including how to get it, were flagged under “political messages.” Such blocks can be appealed, but the process often takes far too long, to the point that some groups may not consider it a priority in the midst of the pandemic.
Mary Hastings, executive administrator of Orland Township in Illinois, described the arbitrary policy as “very unfair,” saying that the blocking of two of their pro-vaccine ads “made it very difficult for the township in our efforts to inform our residents about important information regarding COVID-19 registration and updates.”
Anthony York, a spokesperson for the California Medical Association, complained about one of their ads promoting an event with Biden administration official Bechara Choucair was also banned, most likely due to the prominence of a political figure, saying that with Facebook, “it’s hard to know what will go through” and what will not.
Facebook has faced renewed criticism in recent months due to an alleged spike in “misinformation” regarding the virus, which often consists of conservative opinions or skepticism about the effectiveness of the vaccine, or the justifications behind forced vaccination, mask mandates, lockdowns, and other restrictions as a result of the pandemic.
While the platform is under pressure from the mainstream media and left-wing forces to censor conservatives and others who disagree with the mainstream narrative, it has also faced growing resistance from the Right. Just last week, the platform suddenly censored the entire country of Australia, blocking any Australian user from sharing news articles and banning posts from any Australian media outlet, with the Australian government vowing to retaliate.