The lifesaving message Facebook doesn’t want you to see

11th November 2015

Our lifesaving awareness images of the meningitis rash have been deemed unsuitable by the world’s biggest social media site – Facebook


Facebook banned ads
Facebook has banned a series of our adverts, claiming they break image guidelines and may ‘shock’ viewers. The removal of these ads, designed to help people identify symptoms of the disease, is affecting our ability to communicate lifesaving information during the peak season for meningitis.

Planned adverts for our ‘Don’t Wait for A Rash’ campaign have been banned by the social media giant for “focusing on an ideal body image.” Through this campaign we aim to educate the 34 million UK adults who wrongly believe a rash is the primary symptom of meningitis; however it can be a late symptom and is not always present.  

“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.”

Thomas Davis, Social Media Manager

A second image of a child in a hospital bed, recovering from meningitis, was also banned as it was deemed ‘scary, gory or sensational’. We have also struggled with adverts featuring amputees – aimed at raising awareness of the devastating impact the disease can have. 

“There was nothing shocking or scary about this photo – 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

We urge people to remain vigilant of the signs and symptoms of meningitis - recognising the signs and acting fast can save lives. Do not wait for a rash.

Signs and symptoms card

Be meningitis aware

Meningitis and septicaemia can kill within hours. Knowing the signs and symptoms, remaining vigilant and reacting quickly can save lives. Check them now