Facebook bans ads for hand sanitizer, COVID-19 test kits

A bottle of Purell hand sanitizer.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Facebook said Wednesday it is banning ads and commercial listings for hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kids. 

Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook, tweeted about the change Thursday afternoon. The company added in a blog post that it will also remove posts on Facebook or Instagram where people are trying to sell those items. 

This move came nearly two weeks after Facebook announced it was also temporarily banning ads and commerce listings for medical face masks. However, mask ads were still appearing on the platform this week. 

“This is another step to help protect against inflated prices and predatory behavior we’re seeing,” Leathern wrote on Twitter. “We’ll be ramping up our automated enforcement for ads and commerce next week. If we see abuse around these products in organic posts, we’ll remove those, too.” 

On Wednesday evening, Facebook said in a blog post it was to send home contract workers who review content posted to its services.

The company said since that includes people who review ads and monetized content, the transition to a “reduced and remote workforce” would mean more of a reliance on automated technology. That will result in delayed review for ads and commerce listings, an increase in ads being incorrectly disapproved, delayed or reduced appeals and limited availability of Facebook video ads and lower delivery, the company said. 

Facebook isn’t the only platform fighting a surge of ads and grappling with enforcement since the coronavirus pandemic began. Google said earlier this month it would stop running medical face mask ads and shopping listings, but CNBC reported Wednesday that Google and other ad tech companies were running many such ads as of this week. Google said it had still managed to remove “millions of ads that attempted to capitalize on coronavirus,” however.

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