Facebook Reverses Ban on Advertising for Vaping Documentary
It’s a major victory for vaping this week as Facebook announced that it would no longer censor advertisements for the upcoming documentary called “A Billion Lives”. The film will focus on how ecigarettes could potentially help smokers kick the habit. The World Health Organization has estimated that a billion lives will be lost to smoking related diseases in this century.
Originally, Facebook rejected the documentary’s promotional ads claiming they violated advertising guidelines by promoting ecigarettes. When the film’s director, Aaron Biebert, asked Facebook to explain why his ads were rejected, the reply was simple: “Your ad was rejected because it doesn’t follow the ad guidelines. Ads may not promote tobacco or tobacco-related products, including e-cigarettes.”
Biebert wasn’t content to let the issue slide and he wrote a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expressing his concern. “We are making a film to help people discover what’s going on in the world,” he wrote. “We’re trying to use Facebook to make the world more open, to stay connected, and to give people the power to share what matters most to them… a way to save the lives of their families, friends, and themselves.”
The film director went onto explain that he was not promoting tobacco products at all. In fact, the documentary’s goal is just the opposite. “You call our film a tobacco product, yet we are trying to help people quit,” Biebert wrote. “You promise to make the world more open, but you are closing it off.”
Apparently, the letter was effective enough to cause Zuckerberg and his team to reconsider their ban on the ads. Biebert announced on Friday that Facebook had reversed their decision and would now allow advertisements for “A Billion Lives”. The documentary is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2016.
Do you think Facebook should allow ads for ecigarettes since they are not tobacco products? Is this guideline fair?