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ASA investigates contraceptive app Natrual Cycles following 'misleading' social media ads

By John Glenday | Reporter

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ASA article

July 30, 2018 | 3 min read

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an official investigation into hormone-free contraceptive app Natural Cycles, following complaints about the veracity of its Facebook advertising.

The app, which lets women monitor their fertility by taking their temperature each morning and advising which days are safe or unsafe to have unprotected sex, has received three complaints over a Facebook campaign which cited 'certified' clinical testing results to back up its claims.

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ASA probe veracity of smartphone contraception app marketing

Three people in total complained about the ads, saying the claims were "misleading" and could not be substantiated.

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The investigation follows on from several woman saying they had faced unwanted pregnancies after using the app to track their fertility.

A spokeswoman for The Family Planning Association said: “The use of the word ‘certified’ suggests that there is independent evidence supporting these claims, whereas in fact the only evidence is from the company itself. It has amassed a vast database, which is very interesting, but that is not the same as verified independent evidence.

“Many other apps focus on getting to know your own body, but Natural Cycles is specifically targeting itself as a contraceptive, which is concerning.”

The business is already under investigation by Sweden’s Medical Products Agency after statistics showed that of 668 women who had sought an abortion at a hospital in Stockholm over one four-month period last year, 37 had said they’d been using the app for birth control.

Natural Cycles said the ad in question only ran for a few weeks and has already been taken out of circulation, but the company stood by claims its product can be as effective as the pill at preventing pregnancy.

The ASA will publish the results of its investigation in "due course".

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