Family planning app banned by advertising watchdog


The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an advert by the first certified smartphone-based fertility app in Europe for misleading users and exaggerating its effectiveness. 

Claims from Natural Cycles, a contraception app that helps users prevent pregnancy or achieve it using the “rhythm method,” a form of natural contraception, that the app was “highly accurate” were found to be misleading by the watchdog.

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WikiTribune has previously reported on fertility app controversies: “Plotting your period: Fertility app boom raises privacy concerns” and “How fertility apps track and use private data.”

Add ways we should we continue to look into these issues:

  • Data/privacy concerns, as discussed in previous coverage.
  • Questions over the effectiveness of these apps.
  • How many women have not had the desired result from using these apps?
  • Is new legislation/regulation in use or advertising planned for these apps?
  • Add further areas for research/new angles/experts to speak here.

The Facebook advert for the Natural Cycles app under ran for around four weeks in 2017. The company said it removed the advert after the outcome of the ASA’s investigation.

The Swedish-founded service has more than 300,000 users worldwide. It was first reported to officials in Sweden in January 2018 after scores of women seeking abortions reported using the app. At least 37 women got pregnant whilst using Natural Cycles to prevent pregnancy (The Guardian).

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