Online stores are actively dealing with COVID-19 panic exploitation - The UpStream

Online stores are actively dealing with COVID-19 panic exploitation

posted Sunday Mar 8, 2020 by Scott Ertz

Online stores are actively dealing with COVID-19 panic exploitation

As the panic over COVID-19, commonly being referred to as the coronavirus, people have been looking for ways to exploit that fear and panic. Fortunately, online platforms of all stripes are actively dealing with the problem. Whether it is online stores, app stores, or even social networks, companies are working to prevent you from getting harmed.

Amazon and eBay

Two of the big online user-driven stores, Amazon and eBay, have put rules into place to prevent coronavirus exploitation. Almost as soon as the panic began, Amazon started closing accounts for sellers with false cures on their platform. Following the cures, the company then began terminating accounts for price gouging. eBay has followed suit, going so far as to completely ban the sale of hand sanitizer and face masks from the site entirely.

Amazon has decided to step up their actions, planning to prosecute the sellers who were actively engaged in price gouging on their platform. The company is already working directly with various state attorneys general to deal with the worst offenders first.


As one would expect, the company's App Store has seen an influx in COVID-19 related apps. The most common type has been trackers, produced and published by various individuals and organizations. These trackers have provided various levels of correct and incorrect information. Because of this, Apple has decided to remove all COVID-tracing apps that do not come from official sources. The intent is to prevent misinformation or politically-motived propaganda.


While the company doesn't directly sell anything themselves, they do provide a lot of advertising for those who do. An update to the company's advertising policies has temporarily banned the advertising of medical masks. This move is intended to prevent advertisers from adding to the fear-induced purchasing of face masks (which has little to no effect in preventing the spread). It also prevents these companies from directing Facebook users to sites with inflated prices.


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