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Facebook Bans False or Alarming Coronavirus Ads

The Center for Science in the Public Interest warns consumers to be cautious

THURSDAY, Feb. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Misleading ads about products that claim to cure or protect against the new coronavirus will be banned from Facebook, the social media company said Wednesday. It also said it will prohibit ads that may trigger alarm about the outbreak.

“In the weeks after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency, Facebook is working to support their work in multiple ways, including taking steps to stop ads for products that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention. For example, ads with claims like face masks are 100 percent guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus will not be allowed,” a spokesperson for the company said in an email to CBS News.

A few weeks ago, Facebook said it would remove content about the coronavirus containing “false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) warned consumers to be cautious. “When a new public health threat arises, set your watch: Whether it’s anthrax, SARS, or swine flu, hucksters will emerge like clockwork to promote worthless pills and potions,” CSPI President Peter Lurie said in a statement, CBS News reported. Last week, the group chastised televangelist Jim Bakker for claiming that supplements sold by his online store can cure coronavirus “within 12 hours.”

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