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Facebook to ban ads claiming to cure coronavirus

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers his speech during the VivaTech trade fair on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France. (Eliot Blondet/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 28, 2020

As concerns about the coronavirus epidemic increase, and some patients suffering from the disease are being treated at hospitals in the Bay Area, Facebook is taking some new steps to prevent misinformation about the virus spreading across the social network.

Facebook said it will not accept advertisements for products or services that claim to either cure the disease, or can curtail the spread of the virus. The move comes as the disease has spread from China, and new pockets of coronavirus cases have been reported in South Korea, Iran and Italy. Federal health authorities have also said that American school districts, businesses and families should take steps to prepare for a possible coronanvirus outbreak in the United States.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company has implemented its new ad guidelines in order to clamp down on effort to prey upon individuals’ fears about coronavirus.

“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,” said the Facebook spokesperson, in a statement given to this news organization.

An example of an ad that would be banned would be one for face masks that claimed using a mask would be a 100% guarantee against contracting coronavirus.

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Since the coronavirus outbreak began around the city of Wuhan, China, nearly 80,000 cases of the disease have been reported around the world, with more than 2,600 dying from the disease.

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© 2020 The Mercury News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.