Facebook and Instagram have officially banned the sale of all alcohol and tobacco products on their respective platforms after being accused of providing a home for counterfeit goods.
Last week the chief executive of alcohol giant Sazerac Mark Brown accused numerous online marketplaces including Facebook, Ebay and Craigslist of allowing individuals to sell dangerous illicit counterfeit bottles of its Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, some bottles of which can fetch well over £2000.
“Craigslist, Facebook and eBay are enabling a bypass of our system and are introducing risk into the system that we are going to have a methanol, counterfeiting problem in the U.S.,” Brown told CNBC.
Concerns have been raised by numerous health authorities across the Americas regarding the sale of counterfeit bottles of highly priced alcohol, which can contain high levels of methanol and lead to blindness and even death.
In response Facebook, which also owns Instagram, has announced changes to its “regulated goods policy” banning the sales of any alcohol or tobacco products between individual users.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We are updating our regulated goods policy to prohibit the sale of alcohol and tobacco products between private individuals on Facebook and Instagram. Our commerce policies already prohibit the sale of tobacco or alcohol in places like Marketplace but we’re now extending this to organic content.”
The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America have estimated that the sale of counterfeit alcohol costs the industry between $45 billion to $50 billion a year.