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Natural Cycles Facebook ad banned after featuring misleading claim



natural cycles app


  • A Facebook ad for birth control app Natural Cycles has
    been banned by Britain’s advertising watchdog on the grounds it
    is misleading.
  • The Advertising Standards Association questioned claims
    that Natural Cycles is a “highly accurate contraceptive
  • The app, which has just been greenlit in the

    is already under investigation in Sweden
    after a hospital revealed 37 women had reported unwanted
    pregnancies after using the app.

Natural Cycles, the app which claims to be an effective method of
contraception, has had a Facebook ad banned after it was deemed
to be misleading by the Advertising Standards Association (ASA).

Natural Cycles, which has just been greenlit by
the Food and Drug Administration to launch in the US
, claims
it can provide by protection-free birth control by tracking a
woman’s menstrual cycle through her body temperature.

Using an algorithm developed by the company, the app then shows
the user whether she is either on a fertile day or a non-fertile
day, in which case it claims it is safe to have unprotected sex.
The app costs £39.99 ($51.50) a year or £5.99 ($7.71) a month,
and comes with a thermometer.

The ASA investigated a paid-for Natural Cycles ad on Facebook in
July 2017, which claimed: “Natural Cycles is a highly accurate,
certified, contraceptive app that adapts to every woman’s unique
menstrual cycle. Sign up to get to know your body and prevent
pregnancies naturally.”

The ASA found that Natural Cycles had exaggerated the app’s
“typical-use” failure rate — i.e. how often it fails when someone
doesn’t use it 100% correctly, as is often the case with

Natural Cycles told the ASA that clinical trials showed it was
93% effective with typical use, but the ASA’s investigation found
that this figure was exaggerated, and a more realistic figure was
91.7%. It also found that Natural Cycles requires far more input
from the user than other contraception methods, and that only
9.6% of inputted cycles in the app could be considered

natural cycles elina
Cycles’ co-founder and CTO Elina Berglund

of Natural Cycles

“We considered that in isolation, the claim ‘clinically tested
alternative to birth control methods’ was unlikely to mislead.
However, when presented alongside the accompanying claim ‘Highly
accurate contraceptive app’, it further contributed to the
impression that the app was a precise and reliable method of
preventing pregnancies which could be used in place of other
established birth control methods,” the ruling concluded.

“Because the evidence did not demonstrate that in typical-use it
was ‘highly accurate’ and because it was significantly less
effective than the most reliable birth control methods, we
considered that in the context of the ad the claim was likely to

The ASA banned the ad from appearing on Facebook and warned
Natural Cycles not to say that the app was a highly accurate
method of contraception, or to exaggerate its efficacy in
preventing pregnancies.

Business Insider has contacted Natural Cycles for comment. A
told the Guardian:
;”We respect the outcome of the
investigation by the ASA into one Facebook advertisement, which
ran for approximately four weeks in mid-2017. The investigation
was initiated nearly 12 months ago and the advertisement was
removed as soon as we were notified of the complaint.”

This is not the only time an investigation has called the
efficacy of Natural Cycles as a contraceptive into question.

The company is under investigation in Sweden
after a hospital
reported that 37 of 668 female patients who sought an abortion
between September and December 2017 had been using the app.

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