Facebook BANS ads that 'attempt to create a sense of urgency' around coronavirus or promise a cure


Facebook BANS ads that ‘attempt to create a sense of urgency’ around coronavirus or promise to cure it in latest attempt to reduce misinformation and fearmongering

  • The firm committed to combat false information on the outbreak back in January
  • Coronavirus has infected around 81,242 people and killed 2,771 individuals
  • Social media sites have become a hotbed for panic and misinformation 
  • Meanwhile, Amazon is cracking down on vendors overpricing face masks  

Facebook has banned ads that ‘attempt to create a sense of urgency’ around coronavirus or promise to cure it in its latest attempt to reduce misinformation. 

Coronavirus — properly known as COVID-19 — has to date infected around 81,242 people across the globe and resulted in 2,771 deaths.

Like many social media platforms, Facebook has ended up hosting much agitated conversation around the outbreak, alongside a slew of adverts for face masks. 

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Facebook has banned ads that 'attempt to create a sense of urgency' around coronavirus or promise to cure it in its latest attempt to reduce misinformation. Pictured, Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has banned ads that ‘attempt to create a sense of urgency’ around coronavirus or promise to cure it in its latest attempt to reduce misinformation. Pictured, Mark Zuckerberg

‘We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention,’ a spokesperson for Facebook told Business Insider.

‘We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behaviour.’ 

The California-based social media firm employs fact checkers to validate suspect claims identified on its newsfeed and help suppress any misleading information within both Facebook and its stablemate, Instagram.

The latest announcement builds on Facebook’s commitment of late January 2020 to remove outright misinformation concerning the outbreak from its site.

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‘We will also start to remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organisations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them,’ the firm said.

‘We are doing this as an extension of our existing policies to remove content that could cause physical harm.’

‘We’re focusing on claims that are designed to discourage treatment or taking appropriate precautions.’

‘This includes claims related to false cures or prevention methods — like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus — or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available.’ 

Coronavirus — properly known as COVID-19 — has to date infected around 81,242 people across the globe and resulted in 2,771 deaths. Pictured, a face mask advert from Facebook

Coronavirus — properly known as COVID-19 — has to date infected around 81,242 people across the globe and resulted in 2,771 deaths. Pictured, a face mask advert from Facebook

Like many social media platforms, Facebook has ended up hosting much agitated conversation around the outbreak, alongside a slew of adverts for face masks, pictured

Like many social media platforms, Facebook has ended up hosting much agitated conversation around the outbreak, alongside a slew of adverts for face masks, pictured

Like many social media platforms, Facebook has ended up hosting much agitated conversation around the outbreak, alongside a slew of adverts for face masks, pictured

At the same time, Business Insider has reported that Facebook users have been turning to groups on the social network in order to bulk-buy and sell medical face masks —  with panic buying fostering a shortage of the items where really needed.

Coronavirus is also causing issues for other social media sites and online platforms.

Amazon, for example, has been cracking down on retailers attempting to price-gouge their customers looking to purchase protective face masks — with some vendors having quadrupled the cost of the items, Wired reported.

The retail platform’s ‘Fair Pricing Policy’ mandates that items not be listed with costs considerably more than ‘recent prices offered on or off Amazon.’ 

'We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention,' a spokesperson for Facebook told Business Insider

'We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention,' a spokesperson for Facebook told Business Insider

‘We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention,’ a spokesperson for Facebook told Business Insider

At the same time, Business Insider has reported that Facebook users have been turning to groups on the social network in order to bulk-buy and sell medical face masks — with panic buying fostering a shortage of the items where really needed

At the same time, Business Insider has reported that Facebook users have been turning to groups on the social network in order to bulk-buy and sell medical face masks — with panic buying fostering a shortage of the items where really needed

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR 

 

What is this virus?

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild lung infections such as the common cold.

But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.

Can the Wuhan coronavirus kill?

Yes – more than 2,700 people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.

What are the symptoms?

The infection which the virus causes has been named COVID-19. Some people who catch it may not have any symptoms at all, or only very mild ones like a sore throat or a headache.

Others may suffer from a fever, cough or trouble breathing. 

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And a small proportion of patients will go on to develop severe infection which can damage the lungs or cause pneumonia, a life-threatening condition which causes swelling and fluid build-up in the lungs.

How is it detected?

The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China and countries around the world have used this to create lab tests, which must be carried out to confirm an infection.

Delays to these tests, to test results and to people getting to hospitals in China, mean the number of confirmed cases is expected to be just a fraction of the true scale of the outbreak.  

How did it start and spread?

The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.

Cases have since been identified around China and are known to have spread from person to person.

What are countries doing to prevent the spread?

Countries all over the world have banned foreign travellers from crossing their borders if they have been to China within the past two weeks. Many airlines have cancelled or drastically reduced flights to and from mainland China.

Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?

Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MAILONLINE’S FULL Q&A ON THE CORONAVIRUS



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