Facebook has placed a temporary ban on adverts for medical face masks as it looks to tackle traders exploiting a public health emergency.
Over the weekend the social media giant said it would be placing a blanket ban on “ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks”.
Due to rollout this week, the ban will impact products described as medical devices and face masks, of which are now in short supply.
Facebook’s chief of trust and integrity for adverts and business products, Rob Leathern, said the company was “monitoring COVID10 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency”.
We are rolling this out in the coming days, and anticipate profiteers will evolve their approach as we enforce on these ads. Please report if you see such ads showing up (top right corner of ad) and flag here as well for our teams to action https://t.co/t4N6HOCXai
— Rob Leathern (@robleathern) March 7, 2020
Masks typically used to tackle inhalation of dust, spray painting, or medical purposes, are being purchased up worldwide by those concerned about contracting COVID-19 – and as demand increases, so have the prices.
This comes despite the World Health Organization recommending that masks are only used if people are caring for someone with a suspected case of COVID-19 or you are either coughing or sneezing.
Facebook is the latest company cracking down on price gouging from COVID-19-related products.
Last week it emerged that Amazon is struggling to contain the spread of price gouging on its site as “bad actors” drive up the prices of highly demanded goods.
US Senator Edward Markey called on Amazon on Wednesday to do more to “prevent profiteering on sales of items such as hand-sanitizer and surgical masks.
Amazon now has removed over one million products from its website to stop third-party vendors from profiting due to coronavirus concerns.