Facebook Kept Blocking This Cancer-Prevention Ad

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 6:08 pm, October 20, 2016
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A Swedish charity says Facebook has repeatedly censored materials for its social-media campaign raising awareness about early breast cancer detection, which can save lives.

“We want to inform people how to do self-examination on their breasts,” Lena Biörnstad, the communications director for the Swedish Cancer Society, tells Heat Street. “The fact that Facebook is hindering us from doing that is absurd.”

Breast cancer affects one in nine Swedish women, so Biörnstad says the nonprofit repeatedly tried to get its information across while still meeting Facebook’s standards.

“[We] changed the image several times, even pixelated the nipples,” she says. “Didn’t matter, Facebook shut down the ads.”

On its website, the Swedish Cancer Center says it finally settled for an image of two pink squares, adding, “this cannot possibly offend.”



A Facebook spokesperson, reached after hours on Thursday evening, said it had mistakenly banned the Swedish Cancer Society’s ads.

“We’re very sorry, our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads,” the Facebook rep said in an email. “This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ads.”

Messaging us at almost midnight in Sweden, Biörnstad said she couldn’t verify whether the ads had yet been reinstated.