Facebook scales back ad ban allowing non-medical masks to be listed again

Facebook has scaled back some of its advertising rules in relation to coronavirus, allowing non-medical masks to appear once more.

The social network temporarily tightened controls over ads in March, banning listings for masks to help protect users against scams, misleading medical claims, medical supply shortages, inflated prices and hoarding.

In light of guidance on the need to wear face coverings by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the company has decided to permit third-party businesses to advertise non-medical face coverings again.

Facebook enforced a temporary ban on ads selling products related to coronavirus (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It comes as face coverings are set to be made compulsory for people wanting to travel on public transport in England to limit the spread of Covid-19 from June 15, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are recommending their use.

The revision of Facebook’s rules means businesses can advertise non-medical masks “including those that are homemade or handmade, in organic posts, ads and commerce listings on Facebook and Instagram”, the firm said.

But medical masks, such as surgical or N95 masks, would remain banned in a bid to “prevent people from exploiting the pandemic for financial gain”.

“People will now be able to promote masks that are non-medical grade, provided they are not marketed using medical, health or prevention claims,” Facebook said.

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