February 26, 2020 / 6:31 PM / in a month

Facebook to ban misleading ads about coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it would ban advertisements for products offering any cures or prevention around the coronavirus outbreak, and those that create a sense of urgency around the situation.

The disease, believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has killed more than 2,700 people.

The announcement by the social-media giant comes as it faces increasing regulatory scrutiny over the type of content posted on its platform, specifically items reflecting extreme ideologies and fake news.

Ads with claims like ‘face masks are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus’ will not be allowed, a company spokesperson said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday alerted Americans to begin preparing for the spread of coronavirus in the United States after infections surfaced in several more countries.

Last month, Facebook said that it would remove content about the virus “with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities”, joining companies like TikTok and Pinterest.

Reporting by Ambhini Aishwarya and Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shailesh Kuber

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