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Facebook says decision to reject NSHA advertisement on immunization survey an ‘error’

Facebook said it has reversed its decision on an advertisement from the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Facebook said it has reversed its decision on an advertisement from the Nova Scotia Health Authority. AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Facebook says a decision to reject an advertisement by the Nova Scotia Health Authority for an immunization survey was made in “error.”

“We reviewed the ad and determined it was disapproved in error,” said a Facebook person in an emailed statement, after Global News inquired about their decision.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad.”

READ MORE: N.S. public health launches survey on barriers parents face in immunizing children

The advertisement in question was created by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) to encourage responses to a public health survey that will help officials understand “the challenges and barriers parents and guardians face when immunizing their children.”

John Gillis, director of media relations for the NSHA, said it’s the first part of a project to move Nova Scotia’s childhood immunization rates in the province towards the national target of 95 per cent by Canada’s National Immunization Strategy.

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Facebook has reversed its decision to ban this advertisement from the Nova Scotia Health Authority
Facebook has reversed its decision to ban this advertisement from the Nova Scotia Health Authority. NSHA

According to screenshots shared with Global News, the advertisement was rejected under Facebook rules prohibiting advertisements related to “social issues, elections or politics.”

Gillis confirmed that they had a nearly identical advertisement approved last month with no issue.

“At Nova Scotia Health Authority we use several different channels including Facebook in an effort to engage with and get important information to people in the province,” Gillis said in a statement.

“Because of the nature of our organization, all of our content is related to health.

“Facebook’s intention to restrict health-related content from advertising as a “social issue” is a serious concern and a barrier to our work as a health organization.”

Click to play video 'New Brunswick youth advocate looks at mandatory vaccination' New Brunswick youth advocate looks at mandatory vaccination
New Brunswick youth advocate looks at mandatory vaccination – Jul 10, 2019

Gillis said welcomed Facebook’s decision to allow the advertisement.

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“[We] hope our information will now reach Nova Scotians to support this important research,” he said.

Facebook said they are committed to bringing greater transparency to advertisers.

The company now requires organizations to complete its ad authorization process if they are running ads about environmental politics, civil and social rights, economy, health, immigration, political values and security and foreign policy