Facebook Eases Restrictions on Promoting and Selling Non-Medical Face Masks

The temporary ban on surgical and N95 masks remains in effect

Masks are required in many places for activities such as public transportation or shopping in stores Rike_/iStock

Facebook is easing its ban on advertising non-medical face masks across its platform, but the temporary ban on selling medical masks, such as surgical or N95 masks, will remain in effect.

Non-medical face masks can now be promoted via organic posts, ads and commerce listings via Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.

The social network outlined its definition of non-medical masks in a blog post Wednesday: “People will now be able to promote masks that are non-medical-grade, provided they are not marketed using medical, health or prevention claims. Common examples of non-medical masks include handmade masks, reusable masks or masks created out of household fabrics (e.g. cotton, cloth, denim, etc.) or refashioned non-conventional materials (e.g. neoprene, wetsuits, board shorts, etc.).”

The temporary ban on selling medical masks will remain in place in order to prevent people from exploiting the coronavirus pandemic for financial gain.

In order to promote non-medical face masks, advertisers must be in good standing, with a minimum advertising history on the platform of four months. In addition, regarding countries where Facebook has seen high percentages of ads promoting medical supplies during the ban, violating its policies, advertisers will only be able to target their ads to people in the country where their accounts are based.

The restrictions are temporary, and more information on eligibility is available here.

Facebook said the changes revealed Wednesday are due to many health authorities advising people to wear non-medical masks, as well as masks being required in many places for activities such as public transportation or shopping in stores, adding that businesses of all sizes have been working to fill those needs.

The social network concluded, “We’re monitoring the pandemic carefully, and we’ll continue to reassess our policies over time.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.