Facebook gives WHO free ads for coronavirus campaign

Mark Zuckerberg said platform will block people from running ads that seek to exploit pandemic for profit.

Zuckerberg: 'We're also focused on stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation' (Getty Images)
Zuckerberg: 'We're also focused on stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation' (Getty Images)

Facebook is giving the World Health Organization free advertising to support its coronavirus response and has pledged to provide "ad credits" to other organisations with a similar goal. 

Posting on his Facebook profile, founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg spelled out how the social media behemoth would increase fact-checking and remove disinformation about the virus, following an initial response in late February.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would provide the WHO with as many free ads as it needs to amplify its response to coronavirus and would provide "support and millions more in ad credits" to other organisations that are working to reach and raise awareness in affected regions.

Facebook will also block people from running ads that seek to exploit the global pandemic. Last week, the company said it would ban ads that mention coronavirus in relation to cures or prevention, or try to "create a sense of urgency" about the outbreak for commercial gain.

Zuckerberg said the company will also provide anonymised Facebook data, including mobility figures and population density maps, to help organisations better understand how the virus is spreading. 

He added: "We're also focused on stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation. It's important that everyone has a place to share their experiences and talk about the outbreak, but as our community standards make clear, it's not OK to share something that puts people in danger."

Facebook’s position on coronavirus misinformation is similar to its position on anti-vaccination content, with the platform saying last year that it would remove anti-vaccine groups and pages from its recommendations and that it would not allow ads to target users based on related terms. 

However, BuzzFeed News reported in January that some anti-vaccination ads still appear on the platform – ones that Facebook claimed did not violate its policies.

Facebook has famously allowed misinformation to prevail in political advertising on the platform and doubled down on this stance earlier this year by saying that "people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them".

Become a member of Campaign from just £88 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content