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To Avoid ‘Mass Hysteria’, Amazon, Facebook Ban Ads For ‘Viral’ Products

To Avoid ‘Mass Hysteria’, Amazon, Facebook Ban Ads For ‘Viral’ Products

All of a sudden, people are panic buying virus-related prevention products, such as N-95 respirators and surgical masks, Purell hand sanitizer, and disinfectants, amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the US. Many of these items have seen shortages at big-box retailers and on e-commerce platforms. The remaining supply has been shifted to Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, prepping sites, and or other e-commerce platforms, have seen prices skyrocket in the last several months. 

Price gouging of virus-related products has become a significant issue since confirmed cases in China began to soar in mid-January. We noted how 3M N-95 masks were becoming short supply at the start of the year. Now prices have jumped nearly 10x in some cases; a box of 20 3M N-95 masks is going for more than $200 on some websites. 

In the name of price gouging and just overall censorship of the virus, Facebook last Friday said it would block commerce listings and advertisements for respirators and surgical masks.

“We’re monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency,” Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern tweeted. “We’ll start rolling out this change in the days ahead.”


Update: We’re banning ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks. We’re monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency. We’ll start rolling out this change in the days ahead.


We are temporarily banning advertisements and commerce listings that sell medical face masks,” a Facebook spokesperson said last week. “Our teams are monitoring the COVID19 situation closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency.”

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