- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2018

Social media giant Facebook says it will bar addiction treatment centers from advertising on its website until they’ve been vetted as licensed and effective.

The website, which has faced scrutiny for its outsized role in public life and political activity on its platform leading up to the 2016 election, said it doesn’t want people caught up in the U.S. addiction crisis to be scammed by unscrupulous actors.

Drug overdoses killed more than 60,000 people in 2016 alone, prompting Congress and other policymakers to explore new avenues for treatment, though the Massachusetts attorney general and others say some rehab centers make big promises and then don’t offer real care.

“As more and more people struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, public health experts have warned about some addiction treatment centers that have emerged which fail to meet basic healthcare quality standards,” it posted on its Facebook Business blog. “Many of these take part in insurance scams and many keep people in a cycle of addiction with unproven treatment methods.”

Facebook said it’s teamed with another company, LegitScript, to review each treatment center’s background, qualifications, compliance with state legal and regulatory licensing requirements and privacy practices.

If they pass muster, they can apply to advertise.

In the same announcement, the website also said it would prohibit advertising on its site for bail bonds, akin to its ban on advertisers who offer payday loans.

“Faced with the arrest of a loved one, many people lack the money to post bail, leaving them vulnerable to exploitative bail bond offers that can lead to insurmountable debt,” Facebook said in its post.

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