Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg: Addressing Bias in Women’s

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PHILADELPHIA, May 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, in an open letter penned by LevLane Advertising and addressed to Mr. Mark Zuckerberg and Meta’s executive team, a coalition of advertising executives, marketing executives and women’s health advocates has come together to highlight a pervasive issue that severely undermines inclusivity and patient-focused education across Meta’s platforms. The Center for Intimacy Justice (CIJ), having spearheaded investigations into the biases inherent within the advertising review processes of such platforms, has laid the groundwork for this dialogue. This letter seeks not only to call out the persistent and yet-to-be-addressed discrepancies in how ads targeting women’s and men’s sexual health and wellness are evaluated but also to propose steps toward a more equal, inclusive landscape.

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Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

We represent a diverse group of advertising and marketing executives and women’s health advocates writing to you today to draw your attention back to a critical issue that impacts inclusivity of advertising and patient-focused education on your platforms.

The Center for Intimacy Justice (CIJ) has been at the forefront of identifying the biases present in the advertising review processes on platforms such as yours — the efforts of which we are sure you are already aware.

The CIJ’s research has been instrumental in bringing us to this point. We are writing to further illuminate and address this ongoing yet-to-be-rectified issue. There continues to be a glaring discrepancy in how advertising targeting women’s and men’s sexual health and wellness is reviewed on your platforms.

In healthcare marketing and medical affairs education, clear communication can be the difference between safety and harm. Using accurate terms like “vulva,” “vagina” and “Kegel” is essential for women to understand their bodies, know their options and take charge of their health. That is why we advocate for the usage of correct terminology.

Despite this, ads promoting women’s health products are regularly and permanently rejected, while advertising aimed at men for erectile dysfunction products or solutions to prevent premature ejaculation are readily approved.

The censorship not only renders our marketing efforts ineffective and sometimes impossible, but it also perpetuates a harmful narrative that women’s health is something to be ashamed of or hidden. Our struggle with these platforms’ policies extends beyond a matter of business; it is a fight — which it should never be — for women to see their health concerns addressed openly and accurately.

Our message is clear: Women’s health is not obscene.

The stark contrast in the treatment of women’s versus men’s health-related ads suggests a bias that Meta must investigate further and rectify.

Please address the discriminatory practices that disproportionately affect ads related to women’s health and sexual wellness, starting here:

  • Conduct a Review: Investigate the presence of “algorithmic bias” in the ad review process, especially in how it contributes to the discriminatory treatment of women’s health advertisements.
     
  • Allocate More Resources: Dedicate resources and team members to monitor and ensure that women’s health ads are evaluated with the same standards as men’s health ads, correcting any discrepancies.
     
  • Create an Oversight Committee: Form an independent committee of women’s health advocates to oversee the advertising review process, including representatives from women’s health advocacy groups, to ensure transparency and accountability.
     
  • Engage Regularly With Stakeholders: Hold regular consultations with women’s health advocates, businesses and other stakeholders to gather feedback and make continuous improvements in the advertising policies and review mechanisms.

We would love to host a meeting to discuss how we might rectify these issues and start making a change in the women’s health marketing and advertising space.

We believe these actions not only are necessary for promoting fairness and equality on your platforms but also align with Meta’s stated commitment to supporting diverse communities and fostering an inclusive digital environment.

This could be a turning point — a moment to enable growth, learning and unity in our collective approach to women’s health for Meta. It is within your ability to make this a reality.

We ask that you seize this opportunity and stand with women in their pursuit of health.

Click here to sign and support our petition to Meta.

Media Contact:
Lauren Stralo
Director, PR
[email protected]
484-747-0172

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