Facebook has been accused of putting childrens’ lives at risk after it banned an ad campaign for charity Meningitis Now – designed to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease – claiming the ads break image guidelines and would be too shocking for viewers.
The social media giant, which allows beheading videos to be posted on its site, ruled that the charity’s ‘Don’t Wait for A Rash’ marketing campaign was unsuitable to be aired for “focusing on an ideal body image.”
The initiative comprises a number of executions; the first features an image of a glass being pressed against a rash, with the copy stating: “34 million people still think a rash is the main symptom of meningitis – it’s not. A rash can often be one of the last signs.”
A second ad, featuring an image of a child in a hospital bed, recovering from meningitis, was also banned as it was deemed “scary, gory or sensational”.
Meningitis Now social media manager Thomas Davis said: “Our campaigns are designed to save lives. We know Facebook is an effective way for us to reach thousands of people with lifesaving information who may not know about our charity and the work we do.
“[The campaign] contains nothing controversial – there’s no nudity or promotion of an unhealthy body image and it has been already shared widely online.
“We rely on these kind of images to highlight just how dangerous meningitis is. Recent stories in the press, such as the Millie Dawson case, highlight how powerful these images are and the amount of awareness they can create.
“These images show the reality of the impact meningitis can have and it’s important that people see them. I really hope Facebook can work with us, not against us, in the future.”
Insisting there was “nothing shocking or scary about this photo”, the charity says the same image has been used and approved on other social media channels, including Instagram, as well as appearing on its own website.
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