Anti-Vax Facebook Ads Are Targeting Pregnant Women, According to Reports

There are reportedly over 150 ad spots on Facebook that target women likely to have children.
save article
profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
By Stephanie Grassullo, Associate Editor
Published February 15, 2019
Ads on Facebook promoting anti-vaccine ideas are targeting pregnant women.
Image: iStock

Facebook has faced a lot of heat in the past couple of years. Now, the site is being used by anti-immunization advocates to spread misleading information to pregnant women or women likely to have kids soon, Business Insider reports.

What’s worse, not only are they targeting women at a time when they are most vulnerable, but they’re hitting areas where cases of vaccine-preventable diseases, specifically measles, have been spreading frequently. One sponsored ad in particuliar was found by Quartz journalist Jeremy Merrill and shows an anti-vaccination organization targeting women ages 20 to 60 who have expressed interest in pregnancy and live in Washington state, where health officials have officially declared a public health emergency due to the high number of recent cases of measles.

Another report from Daily Beast says there are nearly 150 anti-vaccine advertising spots run by seven Facebook pages targeting women over the age of 25. The ads were viewed between 1 and 5 million times, according to the report.

Since January, there have been 101 individual cases of measles confirmed in 10 states, and the majority of people who get the disease are unvaccinated, according to the CDC. The MMR vaccine is safe for most people and is an effective way to prevent the disease. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 97 percent effective at preventing measles, the CDC says.

Vaccine hesitancy is largely due to lots of inaccurate information being spread by Facebook groups and blogs. The effects are so damaging, that the World Health Organization recently named the anti-vax movement as a top global health threat of 2019.

In response to the allegations, Facebook responded to Business Insider saying, “We are committed to accurate and useful information throughout Facebook…We have more to do, and will continue efforts to provide educational information on important topics like health.”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List

Next on Your Reading List

doctor listening to 1 month old baby's heart
What to Expect at Baby’s One Month Checkup
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
doctor giving a baby a vaccine
The AAP Recommends New RSV Shot for Babies and Calls for Equal Access
By Wyndi Kappes
doctor examining one year old baby during 12 month check up
What to Expect at Baby’s 12-Month Checkup
By Anisa Arsenault
doctor giving baby a vaccine
FDA Approves COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids 6 Months and Up
By Wyndi Kappes
close up of doctor putting band aid on baby's leg after flu shot
Should Babies Get the Flu Shot? Here’s What to Know
By Lexi Dwyer
Celebrity Alyssa Milano pictured with children during UNICEF volunteer trip to Kosovo.
Alyssa Milano on Parenting, the Pandemic and Working With UNICEF USA
By Lauren Kay
baby being examined by doctor with stethescope
Tool: Vaccine Planner
By The Bump Editors
nervous woman stands by window
Study Shows Many Parents Still Don’t Trust Routine Childhood Vaccines
By Nehal Aggarwal
mom holding her baby after it had a vaccine
New Technique Makes Vaccines Safe in Warmer Temperatures, Study Finds
By Nehal Aggarwal
city of boston historic buildings
These Are the Best and Worst States for Vaccination Rates, Report Says
By Nehal Aggarwal
sad teddy bear looking out rainy window
Measles Virus Completely Wipes Out Your Immune System, Studies Find
By Nehal Aggarwal
phone screen that shows mock up of vaccine pop up
Facebook and Instagram Debut New Strategy to Combat Vaccine Myths
By Laurie Ulster
two women having serious conversation
How to Talk About Vaccines Without Starting a Fight
By Stephanie Grassullo
new york city's empire state building covered by dots that resemble measles rash
CDC: Measles Cases Have Now Hit a More Than 25-Year High
By Stephanie Grassullo
bar graph showing growth
Report: These Places in the US Have the Highest Risk of a Measles Outbreak
By Stephanie Grassullo
woman's hand holding her phone, which shows instagram icon and a vaccine
Instagram Doubles Down Efforts to Stop the Spread of Misinformation on Vaccines
By Stephanie Grassullo
Q&A: Modified Immunization Schedule?
Q&A: Modified Immunization Schedule?
By Dr. Cheryl Wu
Little boy with bandaid on arm looking at camera
NYC Declares Public Health Emergency, Orders Mandatory Measles Vaccinations
By Stephanie Grassullo
young school children sitting with their arms around each other
Italy Will Now Ban Unvaccinated Kids From School
By Stephanie Grassullo
medical researcher performing tests in a lab
Massive New Study Once Again Proves No Link Between Vaccines and Autism
By Stephanie Grassullo
Article removed.