UK consumers certainly shouldn’t be served with ads via social media which promote a preventative vaccine or cure for coronavirus.
As a minimum, such ads are not only materially misleading but are socially irresponsible.
These ads will breach most platforms’ own rules, but will also breach the UK rules which govern advertising and marketing.
Irresponsible or misleading ads exploiting the current spread of the virus should be reported immediately to Facebook (or relevant platform) so they can take swift action to remove them.
They can also be reported to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, which can take steps to investigate the companies or individuals behind them. This includes ads promoting prescription medicines.
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
I welcome the wider measures Facebook is taking to reduce the instances of companies and individuals cashing in on this virus, including to the steps they are taking to discourage advertisers from using irresponsible ‘panic’ tactics to promote products such as hand gels and face masks (often at inflated prices).
So far, Facebook’s response has been, ahem, first class.
”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 told Business Insider, “We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior.”