Could Google & Facebook Ban the Online Sale of Animal Products?
Could Google & Facebook Ban the Online Sale of Animal Products?
Jess Grant Jess Grant
Digital Marketing
June 28,2018

Could Google & Facebook Ban the Online Sale of Animal Products?

Were you hoping to rug up in a mohair coat this winter? You won’t find what you’re looking for at ASOS. The online fashion retailer has updated their animal welfare policy to ban the sale of products made from mohair, feathers, silk and cashmere. According to the new policy, third parties will no longer be able to supply ASOS with items containing these materials.

From now on, the only animal products on sale at ASOS will be those sourced from certain types of leather, wool, and other types of animal hair obtained as a by-product from the meat industry (ASOS has stated they will only work with meat industry establishments who can prove high standards of animal husbandry).

As the issue of animal welfare continues to gain traction, ASOS isn’t the only one changing their tune. A number of clothing retailers have revealed plans to stop using mohair in their products, including Topshop, H&M, and Marks & Spencer. Even high-end fashion houses are jumping on the animal welfare bandwagon, with labels like Versace and Hugo Boss vowing to ban fur from their collections.

But what about search engines and social media? You might not be able to stock up on silk shirts and cashmere jumpers at ASOS anymore, but that doesn’t mean these items can’t be found elsewhere on the internet. They may not design fur coats, but companies like Facebook and Google play a big part in facilitating the sale of animal products.


Buying Animal Products Online

Woman Wearing Fur Coat Feature

No matter how many fashion retailers commit to cruelty-free policies, animal products will remain readily available online unless the internet’s largest corporations decide to take a stand. Obviously restricting the sale of animal products would mean a loss of revenue for both advertisers and manufacturers, so it’s unlikely this will happen on a large scale anytime soon.

However, as the tide of public opinion continues to turn against those who make and sell animal products, it’s not impossible to imagine a world where these items can no longer be bought online.

Google already enforces strict rules regarding what you can and can’t promote on their advertising channels. Banned products include:

  • Counterfeit goods – Any item containing a logo or brand features that another company has already trademarked can be classified as counterfeit.
  • Dangerous products and services – From fireworks to banned substances, items that are illegal and/or pose a risk to the public are excluded from Google’s advertising channels.
  • Inappropriate content – Splashing explicit ads all over the internet wouldn’t be a good look for Google, so it’s not hard to understand why inappropriate content is heavily restricted.
  • Dishonest ads – No matter what you’re advertising, Google won’t tolerate ads that enable dishonest behaviour (such as hacking or scams).

Certain products are also banned from Facebook’s advertising platform. You won’t see any of the following items on sale in your news feed:

  • Illegal items – This covers a wide range of products, including dangerous supplements, illegal drugs and weapons.
  • Adult services – Similarly to Google, Facebook doesn’t permit adult content in their ads.
  • Sensational content – Facebook restricts advertisers from using overly graphic and violent content.

Given how much content is already excluded from online advertising, adding animal products to the banned list doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea. But at the end of the day, consumers are the only ones who have the power to encourage policy changes. Banning animal products online will be a lot easier if people put their money where their mouth is and stop buying those items in the first place.

Digital Marketing
June 28,2018
Jess Grant

Author: Jess Grant

Jess is a Senior Content Executive at Search Factory | iProspect. Her hobbies include eating more than the recommended daily intake of Caramello Koalas, trying to avoid embarrassing typos and spilling coffee on her keyboard.

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