Facebook is taking steps to ban all medical face mask ads to try and cut down on retailers and scammers taking advantage and exploiting coronavirus-related products. Last week, we saw local retailer TAKEALOT post a set of face masks for a whopping R2,500 in an attempt to cash in on the announcement that South Africa just reported its first coronavirus infection. The retailer claimed the price was “wrong” and removed the product off the marketplace but the damage was already done.
But TAKEALOT is not the only retailer in hot water over the attempt to exploit the virus. E-Bay and Amazon have also been slammed over their price surges in face masks since the coronavirus was discovered last year. Customers all over the world have reported price hikes of up top 50% on the products in the past few months.
The price gouging on EBay and other websites for medical face masks is appalling. pic.twitter.com/KeYK1CjVgk
— Sublime Deal (@SublimeDealEbay) March 5, 2020
The World Health Organization reported last week that people had been buying face masks and other equipment in an attempt to sell them at a higher price and profit off the products. The WHO claims the lack of medical supplies are putting health care workers and the ill at risk due to the shortage of supplies
Facebook announced that the company will be banning all ads for medical supply products which falsely suggest an item is in limited supply. They will also ban all promotion of fake “cures” or prevention methods for COVID-19. Facebook has also gone as far as blocking all COVID-19-related Groups and Pages from the platform. Both of these bans cover Instagram too.
It is a small step in the right direction as the ads attempt to take advantage of people.