Facebook bans ads for medical face masks to prevent exploitation during COVID-19 outbreak

On 7 March 2020, Facebook's Product Director, Rob Leathern twitted this message:

In their website, Facebook has this statement:
We are temporarily banning advertisements and commerce listings, like those on Marketplace, that sell medical face masks. We’ll begin to enforce this change over the next few days. We already prohibit people from making health or medical claims related to the coronavirus in product listings on commerce surfaces, including those listings that guarantee a product will prevent someone from contracting it. We also have a dedicated channel for local governments to share listings they believe violate local laws. Our teams are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency.

In a bid to prevent sellers from exploiting the current COVID-19 spread, any advertisements for medical face masks will be banned on the social media platform and Marketplace. This is on top of an earlier ban on health products that claim the ability to heal or prevent someone from contracting COVID-19.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that panic buying from the public for medical face masks has led to a shortage for health care workers, putting them at risks from the coronavirus and other infectious disease. According to WHO, the most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

Besides, medical face masks are not very effective to protect the general public but healthcare workers who tend to the sick need them to reduce the risk of infections.
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