Facebook has announced to allow people to promote and trade non-medical masks, including those that are homemade or handmade, in organic posts, ads and commerce listings on Facebook and Instagram. The social media giant would still maintain a temporary ban on selling medical masks, such as surgical or N95 masks, to prevent people from exploiting the pandemic for financial gain.
Facebook temporarily banned ads and commerce listings for masks on its apps in March to help protect against scams, misleading medical claims, medical supply shortages, inflated prices and hoarding. "Since then, we've continued to monitor trends and activity around Covid-19 to better understand how people are using our platform and advertising tools during the pandemic," Rob Leathern, Director, Product Management, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Many health authorities now advise wearing non-medical masks. "We're scaling back this temporary ban to allow people to promote and trade non-medical masks," he added. People will now be able to promote masks that are non-medical grade, provided they are not marketed using medical, health or prevention claims.
Common examples of non-medical masks include handmade masks, reusable masks or masks created out of household fabrics (cotton, cloth, denim, etc.) or refashioned non-conventional materials (neoprene, wetsuits, board shorts, etc.). Facebook said that in countries where it saw high percentages of policy-violating ads promoting medical supplies during the temporary ban, advertisers will only be able to target non-medical mask ads to people in the country where their ad account is based.