23:54 GMT03 April 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Facebook is introducing a temporary ban on advertising medical face masks to prevent speculative activities over the growing need for protection against the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the company said in a statement.

    "We are temporarily banning advertisements and commerce listings, like those on Marketplace, that sell medical face masks. We'll begin to enforce this change over the next few days. We already prohibit people from making health or medical claims related to the coronavirus in product listings on commerce surfaces, including those listings that guarantee a product will prevent someone from contracting it", the statement read.

    Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company was doing its best to support the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, including by giving it free advertising space and tackling the spread of disinformation.

    A South Korean solider in protective gear gives a sign to his colleague as they spray disinfectant on visiting cars at a 'drive-thru' testing center for the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 in Yeungnam University Medical Center in Daegu
    © REUTERS / KIM KYUNG-HOON
    A South Korean solider in protective gear gives a sign to his colleague as they spray disinfectant on visiting cars at a 'drive-thru' testing center for the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 in Yeungnam University Medical Center in Daegu

    All users searching for "coronavirus" on Facebook will see a pop-up directing them to resources of the WHO or national health authorities, so that "everyone can access credible and accurate information".

    At the same time, Facebook is preventing the spread of "hoaxes and harmful misinformation" by removing such posts, according to Zuckerberg. The tech giant also blocks advertisements that seek to capitalize on the outbreak — for example, those claiming that their product could cure the disease.

    To date, the coronavirus has killed over 3,400 people worldwide and infected more than 102,000 in some 85 countries. So far, 57, 624 of those infected have recovered.

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