Facebook has made the decision to ban all ads for hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes and COVID-19 test kits as part of the response to the outbreak.
Making the announcement via Twitter, Facebook director of product management Rob Leathern said the social media platform would be continue to monitor for ‘predatory’ advertising during the time.
“We’re now also banning hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits in ads and commerce listings. This is another step to help protect against inflated prices and predatory behavior we’re seeing,” he said.
“We’ll be ramping up our automated enforcement for ads and commerce next week. If we see abuse around these products in organic posts, we’ll remove those, too.”
The announcement followed news Facebook had donated a reserve of 720,000 face masks to aid the coronavirus situation.
Earlier this month Facebook made the decision to ban all ads for medical masks on the site, following reports of price gouging.
Update: We’re banning ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks. We’re monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency. We’ll start rolling out this change in the days ahead.
— Rob Leathern (@robleathern) March 7, 2020
Despite the policy changes, Facebook has had some trouble enforcing the new rules.
Price gouging of such products is clearly still a problem for the social media giant.
A Quartz report last week found ads from online retailer ‘Happy Lungs’, selling face masks at over three times the market value.
There are also reports of such ads still appearing in private groups, where it is harder for Facebook to monitor the content.
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