Facebook to allow users to promote and sell hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes on platform

Facebook said it will allow sellers to promote hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes on the platform after it previously banned such ads and listings amid the global coronavirus pandemic. 

In March, the platform temporarily prohibited ads and commerce listings for the items to help protect against scams, inflated prices and hoarding.

“Today, we’ll start to allow people to promote hand sanitizer and wipes on Facebook & Instagram. This will apply to organic posts, ads, and commerce listings including IG shopping + Marketplace,” said Rob Leathern, director of Product Management at Facebook.

A file image taken July 16, 2020 shows a display of antibacterial hand sanitizer in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Leathern said that advertisers will need a minimum advertising history on Facebook of four months, and some countries will still have restrictions.

“We are making these updates gradually based on behaviors we have seen across the platform,” Leathern added. “We’re mindful that some are still trying to take advantage of COVID-19 for financial gain.”

Facebook said it will continue to monitor trends and activity around COVID-19 to better understand how people are using the platform and advertising tools. It still won’t allow people to market products using medical, health or prevention claims.

“Hand sanitizer and surface disinfecting wipes help stop the spread of the virus, and we’ve seen people and businesses of all sizes working to supply these products to help keep people safe,” Facebook said in an Aug. 19 news release.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Facebook and other platforms have faced a surge of ads from users attempting to capitalize on the pandemic.

In March, Amazon deleted more than 1 million products that falsely claimed to cure or defend against the novel coronavirus. The e-commerce giant also removed tens of thousands of deals from merchants that the company said tried to price-gouge customers.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati.