People emerge from the subway wearing protective face masks at Columbus Circle in New York, New York, USA, 04 March 2020. The city recently announced new cases of the coronavirus, including a patient who is a healthcare worker who had recently travelled to Iran.Coronavirus in New York, USA - 04 Mar 2020

Facebook and Instagram are opening up their temporary ban on nonmedical masks on their platforms to allow people to advertise them and post in IG shopping listings and marketplace.

In March, the platforms temporarily banned ads and commerce listings for masks on their apps to help protect against scams, misleading medical claims, media supply shortages, inflated prices and hoarding. Since then they have continued to monitor trends and activity around COVID-19 to better understand how people are using their platforms and advertising tools during the pandemic.

Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, governments and authorities around the globe have evolved their guidance on the need to wear masks. Many health authorities now advise wearing nonmedical masks, and in some places, masks are required for activities such as taking public transportation or going inside a store.

Facebook and Instagram will now allow people to promote and trade nonmedical masks, including those that are homemade or handmade, in organic posts, in ads and commerce listings on Facebook and Instagram. “We will still maintain a temporary ban on selling medical masks, such as surgical or N95 masks, to prevent people from exploiting the pandemic for financial gain,” according to Facebook.

Facebook said people can promote their masks that are nonmedical grade providing they are not marketing, using medical, health or prevention claims. Advertisers have to be in good standing to advertise nonmedical masks, with a minimum advertising history of four months. In countries where they have seen high percentages of policy-violating ads promoting medical supplies during the temporary ban, advertisers will only be able to target nonmedical mask ads to people in the country where their ad account is based. “We are implementing these restrictions out of an abundance of caution and the restrictions are temporary,” Facebook said.

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