Advertisers can now resume running ads and commerce listings for non-medical masks on Facebook and Instagram.
In the early days of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Facebook temporarily banned ads and commerce listings for face masks to protect people against misleading claims, scams, and shortages affecting medical supplies – and to help avoid price gouging and hoarding. Now, as societies across the globe start opening up and relaxing their lockdown measures, Facebook is scaling back the ban to allow people to once again promote and trade non-medical face masks.
In addition to non-medical masks (those that are non-medical grade) the temporary ban has also been lifted on homemade or handmade masks that are presented in organic posts, ads, and commerce listings on both Facebook and Instagram.
The “temporary” ban on selling medical masks – i.e. surgical or N95 masks, will remain “to prevent people from exploiting the pandemic for financial gain,” explains Rob Leathern Facebook’s Director of Product Management.
Non-medical masks are those not specified as medical-grade and those marketed using medical, health or prevention claims. For example, handmade masks, reusable masks or masks created out of household fabrics (e.g. cotton, cloth, denim, etc.) or refashioned non-conventional materials (e.g. neoprene, wetsuits, board shorts, etc.).
In order to advertise non-medical masks, advertisers must be in good standing with Facebook and should have a minimum advertising history of four months.
Advertisers in countries where Facebook noticed high percentages of policy-violating ads that promote medical supplies while the temporary ban was in effect, will only be able to target non-medical mask ads to people in the same country as their ad account. As Leathern explains, “we are implementing these restrictions out of an abundance of caution and the restrictions are temporary.”
Facebook also says it’s monitoring the situation and will continue to reassess its policies. Therefore, we can certainly expect this to change once more.