After announcing a ban on ads which seek to capitalize on concerns around COVID-19 late last month, then expanding that to specifically outlaw all ads and commerce listings of face masks amid massive profiteering pushes, Facebook will now extend its COVID-19 ad restrictions even further, incorporating all listings of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and test kits.
As shared by Facebook Trust and Integrity Team Lead Rob Leathern:
In addition to masks, 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 (1/2)
— Rob Leathern (@robleathern) March 19, 2020
Definitely, this is a significant concern – when Facebook announced its ban on face mask listings, I found several examples on Facebook Marketplace of people jacking up the price of masks by some 500%.
Worth noting, too, that eBay has also banned ads for face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes after seeing “unfair pricing behavior” across its listings.
Profiteering in a time of crisis is nothing new, and while you would hope that everyone would be able to band together for the greater good, unfortunately, history shows us that this will not be the case.
As such, increased restrictions like this are necessary.
It’s another step in Facebook’s ongoing effort to protect its users and ensure they’re getting accurate, timely information about the pandemic.