Facebook Inc. will no longer allow any kind of sale and advertising of alcohol and tobacco between users on its two platforms of Facebook and Instagram.
“We are updating our regulated goods policy to prohibit the sale of alcohol and tobacco products between private individuals on Facebook and Instagram. Our commerce policies already prohibit the sale of tobacco or alcohol in places like Marketplace but we’re now extending this to organic content,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Thursday.
Facebook, eBay and Craigslist was accused by Sazerac CEO Mark Brown of allowing the advertisement and sale between the users of the platform of counterfeit bottles of the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon of the company as well as empty bottles of the highly priced alcohol which were used as containers for counterfeit products of the company.
Illicit alcohols that include counterfeits of brands as well as contaminated mixtures of spirits in them have been identified to be a health problem globally. Since June, deaths of 20 people in Costa Rica have been reported because of consumption of alcohol that had been contaminated with high levels of methanol for greater impact, the Costa Rican Health Ministry has said. So far this year, deaths of at least nine Americans in the Dominican Republic have been reported and initial investigation has identified that one of the possible causes of the deaths is the consumption of spurious, counterfeit and tainted alcohol.
There is a three tiered distribution system for alcohol in the United States, say experts. They added that consumers would be protected from purchasing tainted alcohol because of those regulations.
“Craigslist, Facebook and eBay are enabling a bypass of our system and are introducing risk into the system that we are going to have a methanol, counterfeiting problem in the U.S.,” Brown said in an interview aired on “Power Lunch.”
Analysts have pointed out to a number of listings on each of the identified sites in recent times that profess selling of empty bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, Macallan scotch whisky, Louis XIII cognac and other brands that are highly priced.
The Marketplace and other locations on the Facebook site already prohibits the sale of alcohol and tobacco by its users, Facebook said.
Only preapproved and licensed wine sellers are allowed to sell alcohol on eBay. There were no comments available on the issue form Craigslist.
Earlier this week, a briefing on illicit alcohol was held on Capitol Hill by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. An estimated $45 billion to $50 billion a year in lost profits hits spirits companies because of illicit alcohol, said the WSWA.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)