Meta has been accused of turning its back on those who suffer from erectile dysfunction after both Facebook and Instagram slapped a ban on a new health campaign by online pharmacy UK Meds, dubbed #HardTalk.
The campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the ED issue, features two thought-provoking sculptures, designed by artists, representing the male reproductive system using bananas and walnuts. The symbolism underscores the alarming statistic that half of all men are either currently experiencing ED or are at risk of developing it during their lifetime.
UK Meds claims the decision to ban the activity raises serious questions about the platforms’ commitment to promoting comprehensive healthcare discussions.
Despite the campaign’s important aim of breaking the stigma surrounding ED and encouraging individuals to seek appropriate medical support, UK Meds argues that Facebook and Instagram’s advertising policies hinder rather than facilitate such conversations.
UK Meds general practitioner Dr Alexis Missick stated: “It is disheartening to see Facebook and Instagram impede vital discussions about men’s health. Erectile dysfunction is a prevalent condition that can significantly impact the quality of life for individuals affected by it. By stifling conversations and limiting the reach of campaigns like ‘Hard Talk’, Facebook and Instagram are inadvertently discouraging men from seeking help and understanding this sensitive health concern.”
While the social media channels have policies in place to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, including guidelines related to healthcare and sexually suggestive content, it is essential for platforms of this magnitude to strike a balance between responsible advertising and supporting public health initiatives, UK Meds claims.
The firm maintains it remains committed to advocating for men’s health and will explore alternative avenues to raise awareness about ED and encourage open conversations.
Back in 2020, campaigners called on Facebook to rewrite its policies to allow the promotion of sexual wellness products and advice to appropriately aged adults, in a similar way that alcohol brands can target specific age groups.
However, the firm has flatly refused to change, despite an online petition created by sex toy start-up Biird demanding an end to sexual wellness censorship and gender inequality on social media.
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