After a series of polarizing decision regarding political ads, Facebook has decided to crack down on content that creates panic and hysteria around the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the wave of attempts to promote miraculous cures for the illness.
The coronavirus crisis is now serious enough – with a toll of 81,292 cases and 2,770 deaths as of writing – that tech giants are starting to carefully consider how they moderate related content posted on their social platforms.
According to a report from Business Insider, Facebook is crafting tighter rules for what content is acceptable on the platform when it comes to the illness in order to cut down on the rapidly increasing amount of misinformation posted online.
Specifically, the new ban targets any posts that “create a sense of urgency” around the acquisition of various products that promise to prevent or even cure the illness. This means that ads that create the impression that something is in limited supply or that it’s guaranteed to be effective against the coronavirus are no longer allowed.
The policy extends to Instagram as well as services like Facebook Marketplace. Amazon similarly had to fight people who’ve been quick to capitalize on the demand for protective masks of all kinds by selling in small batches and gradually increasing their prices. The retail giant has warned that merchants who violate its pricing policies will be banned from the Amazon Marketplace.
The coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact on the tech industry as a whole, with many companies choosing to skip major annual events as a way to lower the risk of spreading the illness. Facebook is among others like EA and Sony who recently decided not to be at GDC 2020, and Mobile World Congress 2020 has been canceled altogether.