Facebook removes HIV drug ads after LGBTQ groups warn of misinformation

Facebook removes HIV drug ads after LGBTQ groups warn of misinformation
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Facebook officials announced Monday that the platform would remove advertisements for HIV drugs after warnings from dozens of LGBTQ organizations that the ads contained misleading information.

In a statement to NBC News, a Facebook spokeswoman said that the ads "can no longer run on Facebook" after being reviewed by the company's independent fact-checking sources.

"After a review, our independent fact-checking partners have determined some of the ads in question mislead people about the effects of Truvada," Devon Kearns said, citing one of the drugs. "As a result, we have rejected these ads and they can no longer run on Facebook.”


LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD said that while some of the ads warning of potential side effects of Truvada and other preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications had been removed, others remained active on the platform.

“Removing select ads is a strong first step, but the time is now for Facebook to take action on other very similar ads which target at-risk community members with misleading and inaccurate claims about PrEP and HIV prevention,” GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a press release.

"Dozens of organizations have told Facebook that the safety and effectiveness of PrEP to prevent HIV transmission is unequivocal. The pervasiveness of these ads and the subsequent real world harm should be catalysts for Facebook to further review how misleading and inaccurate ads are allowed to be targeted at LGBTQ and other marginalized communities," she added.

Earlier this month, GLAAD officials told The Hill that Facebook had done no fact-checking on the advertisements before allowing them to be published and said the described side effects were inaccurate.

Facebook officials "have yet to provide any information about how or why they believe these ads are accurate," Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's communications director told The Hill.

"Over 50 experts on AIDS and public health have provided research studies and first-hand knowledge that PrEP is safe, effective, and should be used by people who want to protect against HIV transmission," he added.