After banning all ads for face masks back in March in order to avoid profiteering around the COVID-19 outbreak, Facebook has today announced that it's easing its restrictions, and will allow the promotion of non-medical face masks across its platforms.
As per Facebook:
"Many health authorities now advise wearing non-medical masks - and in some places masks are required for activities like taking public transportation or visiting a store - and we’ve seen people and businesses of all sizes working to fill this need. So we’re scaling back this temporary ban to allow people to promote and trade non-medical masks, including those that are homemade or handmade, in organic posts, ads and commerce listings on Facebook and Instagram."
Following the initial surge of the coronavirus outbreak, brands selling masks sought to push urgent sales, and jack up prices, in order to capitalize on people's fears.
At that time, the official medical advice was that wearing a face mask wouldn't necessarily protect you anyway, with the US Surgeon General even explicitly urging Americans not to buy face masks as they were both unnecessary for general purpose and already in short supply for medical professionals.
After that, we saw various appeals to help get more masks for hospitals. The situation has now evolved again, and with more people now looking to head back out into society, as Facebook notes, wearing a mask is being advised in many regions in order to help slow the spread.
Facebook says that it will maintain a temporary ban on selling medical masks, such as surgical or N95 masks, in order to prevent people from exploiting the pandemic for financial gain.
"People will now be able to promote masks that are non-medical grade, provided they are not marketed using medical, health or prevention claims. Common examples of non-medical masks include 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.)."
Facebook also says that advertisers that do want to promote non-surgical masks "must currently be in good standing", with a minimum advertising history of four months.
With the situation still evolving, Facebook will be monitoring the latest announcements and shifts to stop price gouging and exploitation, but for those looking to promote masks, there'll now be more opportunity.
You can read more about Facebook's mask promotion rules here.