What’s going on with Facebook and hand sanitizer ads?

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020 by Mark P.

Among the recent trends of facemasks, people hoarding toilet paper, and the social distancing we’ve all had to embrace as of late, one thing you may have noticed online are the strange amount of advertisements for hand sanitizer, or maybe the lack of them appearing on the most popular social media platform in the world- Facebook.

According to an article from Business Insider, Facebook is banning more than just hand sanitizer ads. The story states that “Facebook has banned ads for hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes, and COVID-19 testing kits on its platform.” Apparently the company is currently trying to curb “attempts to crack down on sellers looking to exploit people’s fears surrounding the global pandemic.”

In this new policy which was made public by Facebook on Thursday, the “updated policy applies to both ads and commercial listings on Facebook Marketplace as well as users attempting to sell such products through organic posts on Facebook or Instagram, the post said.” This decision follows the track set by Facebook several weeks ago where the company stated that “it would ban ads for medical face masks amid panic-buying that’s led to a global shortage where even healthcare workers can’t get supplies. However, ads for masks were still appearing this week as the company scrambles to take them all down.”

With this ban being announced, however, individuals on Facebook still seem to be trading and selling massive amounts of these products throughout numerous pages and groups where it would take an immense amount of time for Facebook employees to comb through in order to enforce this policy outside of Facebook Market.

Business Insider reports that as of February, “Facebook initially banned ads claiming to cure the coronavirus disease, specifically those that ‘refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention.”

Facebook is far from alone in this endeavor to stop online scalpers, noting that the combined likes of Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other “online retailers have also sought to limit price gouging and attempts at profiteering from people’s fears, while Apple and Google have banned all coronavirus-related apps that are not from official sources in their app store.