GoFundMe has become a go-to for hospital and treatment bills. In fact, one-third of the crowdfunding platform’s campaign are medical fundraisers.
But, there are limits—and the company is attempting to better enforce them. GoFundMe just banned (paywall) a campaign for cancer treatments at a controversial oncology clinic following concerns that both patients and donors were being exploited, reports the Financial Times (paywall).
The Hallwang clinic in Dornstetten, Germany reportedly offers “cutting-edge” alternative treatments, such as “high-dose vitamin infusions” and “ozone therapy” for cancer patients. GoFundMe notified the center that it must seek “further advice from medical experts” before it will be permitted on the site.
“We are temporarily blocking new campaigns for the Hallwang Clinic while we consult with users and experts,” GoFundMe said in a statement to the FT. “GoFundMe respects the decisions of patients and their loved ones about what they choose to fundraise for. We also recognise the tension between that openness and the need to make sure people are equipped to make well-informed decisions, and we’re doing more to help with that.”
GoFundMe’s terms of service bans content or campaigns that are “fraudulent, misleading, inaccurate, dishonest, or impossible,” as well as “products that make health claims that have not been approved or verified by the applicable local and/or national regulatory body.” The company has been criticized in the past for permitting campaigns that teetered on violating such terms.
The crowdfunding company joins several other tech giants combating fake health claims of late. Last month, Pinterest blocked anti-vaccination searches and actively removed related content. Meanwhile, Facebook deleted dozens of pages dedicated to fringe or holistic medicine in an apparent crackdown on pseudoscience.