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The sad demise of ethical advertising : The case of COVID19

“A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.”—(not) Mark Twain.


Monetization policies on COVID-19 content for Youtube, Reddit , Facebook and many other social media Apps have been touted by their owning companies for a long time to help them rid of their ethical duties on social responsibility.

However media sharing platforms have failed the modern post-COVID19 society.Most of the lines on such social Media Platforms will read something like, ” and our users and clients are required to be mindful of the sensitivities of the public during the ongoing global crisis. Therefore if your content violates our guidelines and policies, it will be removed and cancelled.”

What defines the ‘ public sensitivities’ of nations driven to desperation by misinformation and governments who simply do not have one statement that matches a previous statement.So far we have heard of snake oil cures for corona virus, desperate people looking for Masks being conned by their own countrymen, and the list goes on and on.Then the list of  fraudulent claims on anti-COVID PPE which has been paraded to a nauseous stage, with one claim short of  ‘dipping masks in  phenyle and stapling them on your face”.

The main challenges in advertising we have seen so far can form a long list, but the following issues are recurring and it is sad to see zero action by social media platforms on these.By action we mean a strict legal penalty and not mere banning or red flagging.

(1) Distressing Footage: Long Footage of people visibly suffering, sick in hospitals or crying due to COVID-19, in secret footages of medical facilities or people being evicted or evacuated during the crisis has become a problem for many networks with LIVE or Video functions.

(2) False advertising of products claimed to kill or ward off COVID are not being properly penalized. Similarly thePONZI schemes to benefit financially off PPE hoarding and resale have shown little progress in being banned continue to appear in the feeds of  even professional networks like LinkedIn.

(3)Medical Misinformation on COVID health matters related to COVID-19 with no scientific basis and propaganda encourages non-medical tests or exams for COVID-19, or false/unsubstantiated claims about the cause, promotion of dangerous remedies or cures, origin or spread of COVID-19 continues to grace Google and Facebook ad streams.

(4) We have also seen increasing  content stating conspiracy theories of 5G, and COVID as a bio-weapon, or that COVID only targets certain human races or nationalities or that the virus is unreal and a DeepState drama are clearly devoid of the so called and touted demonetization policies.

(5) COVID-19 related games or pranks or challenges that promote medically dangerous activities, such as drinking bleach, or disinfectants, or a purposeful exposure to the virus or incites panic on COVID Vaccines being fake and dangerous are only some of the breeds of misinformation which continues to disgrace all social networks, regardless of what the companies owning these networks claim.The same can be said for videos promoting bad hygiene or depicting infecting people wish deliberately coughing and sneezing have become a cause of concern.

The work of the following organisations have been laudable but honestly, it is too little and too late.We recommend that our clients should read the facts on COVID19 and how it is spread.

World Health Organization (WHO),

Centers for Disease Control (CDC),

National Health Service

EU Safety Advice Committees like

FTC Federal Trade Commission




The Josh and Mak Team
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