Facebook has a massive problem with fake news flooding its platform. It’s an issue that has existed for years — and may have influenced a presidential election in the process — but the company has yet to fully squash it. Instead, Facebook addresses individual issues as they pop up, and with the current worldwide panic over the coronavirus, ads promoting “cures” for the infection are becoming a serious concern.
Now, as Business Insider reports, the company is paying more attention to ads and promoted posts related to the coronavirus COVID-19 and everything related to the virus and the outbreak. Put simply, the company is going to ban anything that claims to offer a cure for the infection.
“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,” the company said in a statement to Business Insider. “We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior.”
It’s sad but not entirely surprising that people are using Facebook to exploit some of the concern and panic regarding the coronavirus outbreak. It’s not been hard to find ads or Marketplace listings claiming to offer supplements or even “cures” for the infection, despite the fact that no such treatment is publicly available.
The good news is that a vaccine for coronavirus is actually in the works. In fact, a US company called Moderna recently announced that it had provided samples of the vaccine to the government and could have human testing in the works within a couple of months. Even still, making that vaccine widely available (if it indeed works) might not be possible until early 2021. In any case, anything you see on Facebook promising a cure or vaccine for the virus right now is total bunk, and it’s nice to see that Facebook is finally taking action against it.