The recent outbreak of the coronavirus is causing worldwide fear. People are stocking up on all toiletries and medical supplies like hand sanitizer, soap, tissue, and toilet paper. Unfortunately, the virus appears to be getting worse, with more cases coming out each day. Most recently, a cruise ship was quarantined in Cobb County, Georgia, due to some people on board getting the virus.
This fear is a major reason why Facebook is banning certain advertisements of medical face masks on their platform. Facebook does not want people to exploit this serious issue for a quick profit. Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management, said that their “teams are monitoring the Covid-19 situation closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency.”
Several of these ads say things that make customers believe that by using this product it will prevent them from contracting the virus. Not only is this false advertising, but there has been no statement that has discussed a cure or remedy for the virus. Just one look at social media and common sense will tell you that companies producing face masks, soap, and hand sanitizer have all seen a significant rise in sales over the last 2 weeks.
There have even been some public officials urging people to stop buying masks. According to them, these masks do not prevent you from getting the virus. It’s a complete waste of money. Just recently, “a hardware store in Manhattan was fined for hiking prices on products like hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.” They were reportedly selling a 3-pack of wipes for almost $40. This entire situation shows the power of advertising and marketing.
Unfortunately, this is one of the downsides of company advertising. Even in times of a crisis, there is still money to be made. In this situation, their profit is coming at the expense of innocent lives. It is easy to see why Facebook is taking a stand against these companies taking advantage of this epidemic.