As concerns around coronavirus continue to mount, internet advertising giants Google and Facebook begin to prohibit ads for medical face masks.
In Google’s case, it is more strictly enforcing a policy that was already in place which restricts ads that capitalize off the coronavirus.
A Google spokesperson tells CNBC:
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily ban all medical face mask ads. We’re actively monitoring the situation and will continue to take action as needed to protect users.”
For now, Google is only restricting ads for face masks. However, note how the company says it will “continue” to take action “as needed.” In theory, Google could restrict other types of ads in the future depending on how the situation escalates.
It may take a few days to remove all existing ads for medical face masks, Google says, so you may still encounter some in your searches.
Google Follows Facebook’s Lead
Google’s decision to ban ads for medical face masks comes just days after Facebook did the same on its platform.
On Friday, Facebook announced it is temporarily banning ads and commerce listings for medical face masks.
Rob Leathern, head of the trust & integrity team for ads and business products at Facebook, states:
“We’re banning ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks. We’re monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency. We’ll start rolling out this change in the days ahead.”
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, adds the following:
“Supplies are short, prices are up, and we’re against people exploiting this public health emergency. We’ll start rolling this out over the next few days.”