Facebook, the owner of Instagram, has reportedly rejected an ad raising awareness for HIV-prevention medication PrEP because they weren’t “authorized to run ads about social issues, elections, or politics,” reported Vice.
The ad was run by New York medical provider Apicha Community Health Center, who provides health services to Asians and Pacific Islanders (API), the LGBTQ community, and people affected by HIV/AIDS.
Apicha has had ads rejected by Instagram because their content was labelled too sexual. However, this recent rejection was the first instance of their ad being deemed too political. Phillip Miner, Apicha’s Director of Grants and Communications, said they were not told what part of the ad was too political.
After initially rejecting the campaign, which specifically targeted API men who have sex with men, Facebook said they would approve the ad if the organization linked their Facebook page with employees who have access to the account’s personal pages.
The rejection comes only days after Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress that company policy allows politicians to run false political ads.
“I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Zuckerberg said during his testimony, “and I think that people should make up their own minds about which candidates are credible and which candidates have the kind of character that they want to see in their elected officials.”
“Social media platforms are the easiest way for us to reach [the communities we’re trying to reach,” Miner said. “To have social media platforms create these barriers when government entities have given us the resources to reach communities at risk is really hindering the national goal of ending the HIV epidemic.”
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