Currently, there are several fake ads taking their turns on Facebook and claim to offer cure against the novel coronavirus COVID-19. As a result, the social media giant is actively banning ads that promise any such false hopes. In a statement given to Business Insider, Facebook confirmed that the company even has similar policies for its Marketplace platform that allows users to buy and sell items.
According to The Verge, Facebook is trying its best to support the efforts of the World Health Organization by "taking steps to stop ads for products that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply or guaranteeing a cure or prevention. For example, ads with claims like face masks are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus will not be allowed."
Facebook vs misinformation
Earlier this month, the company also announced that it would be removing all misinformation from both Facebook and Instagram. In that announcement, the company stated that it is setting up policies against fake cure contents, prevention methods, and misleading health information. The recent policy update, however, is focused on combating those who use fearmongering tactics to sell products.
Facebook seems to be having a similar stand against coronavirus misinformation and anti-vaccination content. Last year, the company claimed that it would be removing all anti-vaccine pages and groups from the platform, and as well as it wouldn't allow ads to target users based on anti-vaccine terms. However, some reports have suggested that despite this claim, several anti-vaccine ads have seemed to pop-up on the platform, to which Facebook replied that none of those ads violated the set policies.
"Our policy is to ban ads containing vaccine misinformation," Facebook stated to Buzzfeed News "on the basis that it expresses opposition to vaccines."
The platform has been also constantly criticized for circulating fake political campaigns. Even though Facebook justified its approach to political speeches by stating, "people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them," most people believe that Facebook is a private company, shouldn't be policing political statements.
On a side note, the company has also dropped out of several conferences as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.