With the emerging cases of Coronavirus around the world, there has been a rise in the number of brands taking to the online medium to promote their products like gloves, hand sanitizers, face masks and many such products purporting to prevent the disease. However, services like Google Ads are finding it difficult to enforce policies that ban these advertisements.
As of this past Wednesday, Google Ads has displayed many such advertisements, despite the fact that Google has a policy which forbids ad content capitalising on the deadly virus outbreak, according to a company spokesperson. Google has also introduced another policy in Korea wherein it has disabled ads for every YouTube content that revolves around the virus.
However, products that are promising to prevent Coronavirus continue to appear in sponsored shopping lists for the product searches and on third-party websites through Google Ads.
A few days ago, Facebook had also prohibited advertisements on their platform which claimed to prevent or cure the disease or tried creating urgency around the virus, such as promoting products with a limited supply period. Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have seen a sudden rise in the number of brands moving to use their ad services in hopes of making quick cash from Coronavirus concerns and have struggled to put away these violators.
According to a report from CNBC, there has been one such case where a third party ad served by Google promised protection against coronavirus, calling it “Government approved to block up to 95% of airborne viruses and bacteria. Limited Stock.” and the product's direct website had listed it as ”National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved for at least 95 percent filtration efficiency against certain non-oil based particles.” However, the actual listing of the product was for a website called MedicalProtex,
As there has been a big scramble for face masks in the past few weeks, medical experts have tried to warn healthy people against buying these face masks so as to avoid an equipment shortage for medical workers. A US Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, has also claimed that they are not effective in preventing the general public from 'catching Coronavirus'.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
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