Facebook is banning ads for coronavirus face masks – here's why

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Facebook has announced it will be removing all adverts for medical face masks as worries over the coronavirus grow by the day.

Facebook put out the following statement on Friday, saying that it would be banning all ads for face masks.

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.

The US Surgeon General and World Health Organisation have both asked the public not to buy surgical masks, because the shortage puts healthcare workers at risk. On this occasion Facebook has decided to listen to the authorities.

The statement should reduce exploitation as a means of profit, which can only be a good thing. There's also lots of doubts as to whether there's much benefit at all to wearing masks at all.

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