ASHA joins national sexual health organizations in urging Facebook and other social media platforms to say no to censorship.
The need for accurate, unbiased sexual health information is clear. There are close to 20 million new sexually transmitted infections diagnosed each year and nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned.
Where do people turn for information on sexual health? Increasingly, the Internet—according to the Pew Research Center, 72% of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year. But while that information is available on websites like ours and other sexual health organizations like Advocates for Youth, it is often censored on popular social media platforms.
For example, an ASHA Facebook campaign to increase the awareness vaginismus—a health condition that can cause painful intercourse for women—was flagged by the site as promoting a “sexually explicit product.” Advocates for Youth’s Facebook ad for the organization’s Great American Condom Campaign was similarly denied for violating ad guidelines about “adult content.”
In an effort to raise awareness of the problem and encourage a policy change, Amber Madison, author and lecturer, has launched a petition on change.org to urge to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Yahoo, and Google “to stop censoring sex education content from health organizations trying to provide people with the information they want and need to be healthy.”
As Amber outlines the problem: “There’s a big difference between an ad that encourages people to get tested for sexually transmitted infections and one that links to the latest celebrity sex tape—but Facebook and the others treat them as if they were exactly the same.”
If you agree that sexual health information should not be censored, then make your voice heard! Join ASHA and sign on to the petition today.