Facebook confirms ban on misleading coronavirus ads

From The Verge: Facebook is banning ads that promise to cure, prevent, or otherwise incite panic around COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the company has confirmed in a statement given to Business Insider. The company added that it has similar policies for its Marketplace platform where Facebook users can buy and sell items.

”We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention,” the company told Business Insider, “We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior.”

The statement comes less than a month after the company announced that it would be removing misinformation about the new coronavirus from both its Facebook and Instagram platforms. At the time it said that this policy would include any content about fake cures or prevention methods, or misleading claims about what health resources are available, but it didn’t mention whether its policies also covered advertising on its platform. Today’s statement clarifies its position.

Facebook’s position on coronavirus misinformation is similar to its position on anti-vaccination content. Last year it said that it would remove anti-vaccine groups and pages from its recommendations, and that it would not allow ads to target users based on related terms. However, doubts have been raised about Facebook’s policing. Buzzfeed News reported in January that some anti-vaccination ads still appear on the platform, which Facebook claimed did not violate its policies.

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