Amazon Removing Fake Products 'Killing' Coronavirus
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Amazon will no longer allow third-party merchants to advertise products claiming to treat or cure the coronavirus, CNBC reports. Misinformation continues to spread on social media, and it appears the same has occurred on one of the world's most popular e-commerce platforms. Now, Amazon's immediate action includes pulling all listings for these products in order to protect consumers.
The listings target fearful consumers through deceptive language. Sellers describe their cleansers, surgical face masks, and sprays as capable of 'killing' the coronavirus and, in some listings, they go as far as name-dropping well-respected agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. All of the products, however, are nothing more than regular supplies used against common germs and illnesses. Additionally, some of the products might act as complete placebos and not combat germs in any form. If you discover a fake product claiming to treat or cure the coronavirus, ignore them and consider filing a report to Amazon.
Globally, nearly 80,000 people are infected by the coronavirus. It has also killed over 2,000 people.
"Products that make medical marketing claims may not be legally marketed in the U.S. without prior review and approval by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)," sellers are informed in a message. "Amazon policy prohibits the listing or sale of products that are marketed as unapproved or unregistered medical devices."
Counterfeit products are a big problem on Amazon's platform, but the company doesn't always identify the sellers behind them. Other categories such as clothing and electronics feature blatant ripoffs of popular items that fall short of expectations. With medical equipment seeing a rise in counterfeits, it's very serious as people can put their health at risk.
Several technology companies met with the World Health Organization in mid-February to discuss misinformation surrounding the disease. Bad actors are sharing false information on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, but all participants in the meeting remained quiet on their internal efforts. Instead, the discussion focused on large-scale ideas that all of them could implement. It's unclear what progress came out of the meeting and how technology companies plan to do more than just fact-check user-generated content around the clock.