The recent outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus is spreading like a wildfire. So far, 3,639 people have died worldwide due to this virus, and the number is only expected to grow. According to the latest figures from the WHO, at least 106,893 people globally be infected by this virus. It has caused panic among the common people. Scientists around the world working day in and day out to find a cure for this deadly virus. At the same time, corporates and businesses all around the world are doing whatever they can to help. In this row, Facebook has decided to ban all ads from running on Facebook for medical masks.
As fears of novel coronavirus spread worldwide, people are scrambling to buy medical masks, which has created a shortage of masks among those who need the most. Also, it has been reported several times that many sellers have increased the price for hand sanitizers, as well as masks to make profits out of this epidemic. In an attempt to limit this chaos, Facebook has decided to put a temporary ban on all kind of ads that sells medical face masks. Rob Leathern – the lead trust/integrity team for Facebook ads – tweeted that they are “monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency.“
Facebook also going to limit any ads for media products that claim to have ‘cure‘ for coronavirus. Facebook will also leverage its algorithm to limit reaches for many coronavirus-themed Facebook pages and groups. Facebook is doing all these to stop people from exploiting this emergency.
These policy changes are not limited to Facebook only, these rules apply to Instagram as well. “Supplies are short, prices are up, and we’re against people exploiting this public health emergency,” said Adam Mosseri – head of Instagram – in a tweet.
Last week, Facebook announced that coronavirus related searches on Facebook would show a pop-up on top of the result containing information about the virus from WHO and local health authorities. On top of that, Facebook is also provided free ads credit to top organizations to “run coronavirus education campaigns on Facebook and Instagram in affected regions and are discussing ways to provide additional assistance and support to health authorities.”
Facebook is not the only one to make changes in its policy due to COVID-19. Amazon recently reportedly removed more than 1 million listings for products claiming to cure the virus. It has also removed hundreds of thousands of products and thousands of sellers who have engaged in price gouging on products like hand sanitizers and medical face masks. Similarly, eBay has banned all listings for N95/N100 masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes. It will also monitor and remove any new listing that mentions “COVID-19,” “coronavirus,” and “2019nCoV” to stop the exploitation of the situation.
Health authorities all around the world urging people to not buy face masks as it is not necessary for a healthy person. There is a shortage of face masks supplies for the medical workers on the field who need them the most. I personally think this is a great initiative from Facebook to ban face masks related to ads. We here at NextPeer urges everyone to not believe whatever they see or read online, and only trust information coming from WHO or other similar health authorities of your country.