Facebook will take down political ads with coronavirus misinformation

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Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020.

Kuhlmann | Munich Security Conference

Facebook will remove political ads posted on its service if they contain misinformation related to the coronavirus, a company spokesman told CNBC on Thursday. 

Over the past few months, the company has come under heavy criticism for its policy to allow politicians to run ads on the social network even if they contain false information. The spokesman on Thursday, however, clarified that Facebook will not allow politicians to post ads with misinformation if it is related to the coronavirus. 

The spokesman referred CNBC to a post published by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday regarding how the company is dealing with the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

“We’re removing false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We’re also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation — for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease.”

The coronavirus has already had an impact on the company. Facebook on Wednesday announced that a contract employee based in Seattle had tested positive for the illness. The company has also pulled out of various conferences, and it also canceled F8, its annual software developer conference that had been scheduled to take place in San Jose in early May. 

Around the world, there are now at least 91,300 cases of the coronavirus and there have been at least 3,110 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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