Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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Facebook on Friday announced it is temporarily banning ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks as the company continues to grapple with the reaction of its users to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern announced the change in a Friday tweet. The social media giant will begin to enforce the temporary ban on these type of ads “over the next few days,” the company said in a blog post.
“We’re banning ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks,” said Leathern, who leads the product team that enforces ad and business policies across the company’s services. “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.”
“Supplies are short, prices are up, and we’re against people exploiting this public health emergency,” tweeted Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram.
The policy change comes one day after a company spokesman told CNBC that Facebook will remove political ads posted on its service if they contain misinformation related to the new coronavirus.
Since the outbreak, Facebook has been impacted in a number of different ways.
The company on Friday closed its London offices until Monday in response to the outbreak. On Thursday, Facebook told its Bay Area employees to stay home and cancel any trips. And on Wednesday, the company announced that a contract worker in its Seattle office had tested positive for the illness.
The company also canceled its F8 annual software developers conference that was scheduled for May and it pulled out of a number of other conferences due to the coronavirus.
Globally, there are now at least 102,168 cases of the coronavirus and there have been at least 3,491 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.