As part of its efforts to continue banning anti-vax messages, Meta is removing the ability for users to create frames, except for some organizations.
Starting March 21, Meta will be removing all profile picture frames from its Frames Gallery on Facebook. The decision follows a decision nearly two years ago when Facebook began banning anti-vaccine messaging in its apps.
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Since then, some users have sought to express their support for the freedom to choose whether to get the vaccine or not via picture frames, with slogans such as “my body – my choice,” and “the best mask is a healthy immune system” appearing in the feature’s Gallery.
Meta has in the past months worked to remove anti-vax profile picture frames on Facebook, but the workload associated with the detection and removal of such has brought the decision to remove the feature for all users who to create a new frame.
According to Meta, only “authoritative sources on COVID-19” will continue to have access to frames globally after the March 21 deadline. In other words, only municipal, state, and local agencies (including local election offices), municipal government agencies, emergency response agencies, public health agencies, and local law enforcement will be allowed to create profile frames.
Examples of such organizations included in the announcement are the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Centers for Disease Control, and national government agencies or national ministries of health.
Profile frames have been around since 2015. They were initially introduced to show support for sports teams, but they quickly grew to be used to express sympathy, support, and activism for many other causes, alongside the more straightforward witty use for fun purposes.
Facebook also allowed users to create their own frames, leading to the generation of thousands of profile frames within the app’s Frames Gallery.
The pressure to act on the matter has been put on Facebook by CNBC after the publisher identified an alarmingly growing number of frames used to propagate anti-vaccine messages in the absence of the possibility to do so elsewhere on the platform.
Since CNBC’s reports, Facebook has gone from removing the offensive frames one by one to remove all frames except those created by approved partners. Finally, Facebook last week decided to shut down the feature for those wanting to create their own frames in its Frame Studio tool.