Does an image of the meningitis rash qualify as promoting an ‘ideal body image’? Is a photo of a child recovering from meningitis ‘shocking’, ‘gory’ or ‘sensational’? According to the social media giant Facebook, the answer is yes.
This month, a number of our lifesaving awareness images have been banned by Facebook – which, as many of you will know, is one of the world’s biggest and most popular social media sites.
What does this mean for us?
It means we cannot share lifesaving awareness with our 56,000 followers and educate the 34 million adults who wrongly believe a rash is the main symptom of meningitis.
It means that our key awareness messages are not reaching social media users during the peak season for meningitis.
It also means we have to look at a new campaign. It means starting again, creating new adverts designed to help people identify meningitis symptoms in the hope that Facebook will not block more messages that can prevent another life being lost to this destructive and devastating disease.
“Our campaigns are designed to save lives. We know Facebook is an effective way for us to reach thousands of people with lifesaving information who may not know about our charity and the work we do.”
“One of the images banned was a glass being pressed against a rash. It contains nothing controversial – there’s no nudity or promotion of an unhealthy body image and it has been already shared widely online.”
“We rely on these kind of images to highlight just how dangerous meningitis is. Recent stories in the press, such as the Millie Dawson case, highlight how powerful these images are and the amount of awareness they can create.”
“There was nothing shocking or scary about the photos – we have certainly used more graphic images in the past. The same image has been used and approved on other social media channels, including Instagram, as well as appearing on our website."
“In the past we’ve faced problems when using images of our supporters who have lost limbs as a result of meningitis. These images show the reality of the impact meningitis can have and it’s important that people see them. I really hope Facebook can work with us, not against us, in the future.”
Thomas Davis, Social Media Manager at Meningitis Now
Do you know what to look out for? Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis and acting fast saves lives. Do not wait for a rash.
Facebook may have banned these images but don’t ignore them - they could save your life!