Internet giants ban facemask ads amid coronavirus chaos

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Facebook and Google are temporarily banning adverts for facemasks as a result of concerns surrounding false medical claims being made by advertisers online.

Following the rise in cases of the coronavirus COVID-19, the social media platform has banned ads on its main site as well as listings on the Marketplace, to prevent unethical price hikes because of demand, as well as the spread of claims saying one product could prevent the illness.

Google has an existing ban for any coronavirus-related ads, but was aware of some not mentioning the virus in certain ads for things like face masks. Instead, it is temporarily blocking ads mentioning surgical face masks in all mobile, search and YouTube ads.

The NHS is currently working with platforms including Google, Facebook and Twitter to make sure the information available to concerned users is truthful and not creating further problems.

Facebook Director of Product Management, Rob Leathern, said: “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."

A spokesperson for Google told Business Insider: “We’re committed to protecting users and surfacing helpful, authoritative information as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily ban all medical face mask ads. We’re actively monitoring the situation and will continue to take action as needed to protect users.”