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Facebook bans Cancer Council poo ads

Published on 31 May 2018 back to previous

Facebook has banned ads from the Cancer Council because the ads feature the word poo and pee
And now to the delicate matter of how to warn people about bowel cancer:
LEIGH SALES: Awareness about one of the most common forms of cancer remains disturbingly low because of a reluctance to talk about it. That’s the take-out message from a series of focus groups looking at why so many Australians over 50 refuse to take part in a free home screening test for bowel cancer.

— 7.30, ABC, 23 May, 2018

So, what to do? Well, one answer is to run a media campaign and tackle the subject bluntly. As the Cancer Council in Western Australia has done with this TV ad:

DR ROB WHITEHEAD: The bathroom is a good place to look for cancer and find it early. If you do find it early enough there’s a better chance of doing something about it.

DR MARIE FOX: Look for blood in your poo …

DR MAX KAMIEN: And check for blood in your pee.

— Cancer Council WA advertisement, 2018

That ad, about recognising the symptoms of bowel and other cancers, is running on TV and radio.

But when the Cancer Council approached Facebook to help spread the message its ads were rejected:

Facebook has refused to post the ads because they contain "specific personal attributes of physical/medical/mental condition" including "blood in your poo?", "Bloody poo?", "Do you have cancer?", "Noticed blood in your poo?".

— Cancer Council website, 2018

Not being able to run the ads on Facebook is a huge problem, as the Cancer Council’s Cassandra Clayforth explains, because:

Facebook is one of the only ways we can reach people over 40 in some rural and remote parts of WA, so not being able to use it is a big issue.

— Cancer Council website, 2018

Registration No: 5314195 Registered Office: 92 Palatine Road, London N16 8ST.