This week, Mark Zuckerberg spent the day sweating beneath his baby bangs as he defended his right to let political advertisers lie to voters on Facebook. However, there does seem to be a topic that Zuckerberg and company have declared too controversial for social media, and that topic is preventing HIV and AIDS.
A primary care facility in New York City that provides medical care for underserved communities called Apicha Community Health Center recently hoped to promote awareness about PrEP, a drug that helps reduce the risk of HIV, on Instagram. But the group was told they “hadn’t been authorized to run ads about social issues, elections or politics,” according to Vice.
Since the introduction of Truvada, a drug used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in order to prevent the spread of HIV, new cases of the virus have dropped by 31 percent in New York City for all groups except Asians and Pacific Islanders. Apicha hoped to change that by launching a social media campaign targeted at these vulnerable communities. But their ads were rejected for mysterious “political” reasons that Facebook-owned Instagram refused to clarify:
“They said the copy was the problem but were unable to tell us what part of the copy was too political,” Phillip Miner, Apicha’s Director of Grants and Communications told Vice.
Miner says that Twitter also initially rejected the campaign as “too sexual,” but reversed its decision after an appeal, which Miner says is normally how this process works. But the health center has never had a campaign rejected for being too political before. The ads feature queer Asian and Pacific Islanders speaking about their lived experiences fighting the stigma around HIV. Rather than allowing the ads upon further explanation like Twitter, Instagram instead demanded that Apicha needlessly forfeit its employees’ privacy:
“If Apicha CHC could authorize every employee who uses the center’s social media accounts through Facebook, they would be able to run the ad. This would not be possible, Miner told VICE, as one of his staffers, who wished to remain anonymous, uses a name on Facebook that does not match their government ID for undisclosed matters of personal privacy and security.”
Funny how the same social media company that has my family members sharing pro-Trump content created by Kremlin-funded trolls gets all worked up about authorization where the LGBTQ+ community is concerned.