Facebook has joined sister site Instagram in banning adverts offering so-called ‘conversion’ therapies from the platform.
The blanket move was triggered after Instagram removed adverts from a UK-based provider of such services, Core Issues Trust, shining a light on a wider problem affecting the internet.
Facebook now says it will change its current policies on hate speech to encompass the controversial practice, which claims to be able to change someone’s sexuality.
Twitter, which already bans such content, has already said that it is ramping up its policing of the platform to ensure nothing slips through.
In all cases, the ban will also apply to user generated content and the sites’ recommendation engines. This will include anyone who offers their support for the conversion therapies.
Conversion therapies have an almost zero ‘success’ rate, but many forced to take part feel compelled to bury their sexuality, giving the illusion of changed sexuality, but potentially triggering severe psychological issues.
While it’s great to see the big players finally acting to stop the promotion of these psuedo-sciences, it’s alarming to note than Germany is one of the few countries where they are actually illegal. A few US states have taken unilateral action, but at a federal level it remains legal.
In the UK, a planned ban was shelved when power passed from former Prime Minister Theresa May to the current incumbent, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
The fact that Facebook is offering an out-and-out ban suggests a significant shift in outlook at the company, which has been notoriously reticent to ban anything, in the past. For a long time, it couldn’t even bring itself to decry unsolicited dick-pics, though that has since changed.