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Etsy says if you’re selling face masks don’t mention coronavirus

Etsy wants to avoid liability so don't be mentioning any unsubstantiated claims.
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Who could know what “guidelines” April 6 brings – but at least for today, it’s, yes, wear face masks, it’s good for you.

E-commerce platform Etsy, who is currently, so to speak, making a killing on selling handmade protective masks, concurs and toes the “authoritative” line.

It goes like this: “Hey, if it makes you feel better, wear a non-medical mask, and make it pretty – but don’t expect it to save you from coronavirus, because the real stuff goes to medical workers because our country can’t supply both of you.”

At least that’s the gist of it. People will sell their craft, Etsy will make money, people wearing the “artisan” masks will feel better and calm down a little (in case, God forbid, they started to get angry at the multi-year if not multi-decade neglect of US manufacturing and outsourcing of medical material, mostly to China, of all places.)

All should be good, and Etsy had to issue this disclaimer disguised as a statement:

“We hope that increasing the availability of fabric, non-medical grade face masks from Etsy sellers will allow more medical and surgical masks to reach the people who need them most: front-line health care workers.”

But Etsy sellers should pay attention not to get the platform in any legal trouble: they must follow guidelines and make no medical claims, such as using the words “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” on their listing for these masks. After all, these are “pacifier masks” not to be confused or compared with the N95 variety.

In other words, even though the term “face mask” has become synonymous with people’s wanting to protect themselves, their loved ones, and others from the disease, Etsy’s products are basically no more than accessories that use not-so-subliminal marketing methods to get you to buy what you think is of use in the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Etsy’s policy in so joke: dear sellers, do make money off this justified or otherwise hysteria, pander to it, bring the company and yourself turnover and profit, but listen: “Don’t use this language (coronavirus and such) anywhere in your listing, including in the title, description, tags or listing photos.”

That’s not exactly the sentiment US surgeon general Jerome Adams said when he told reporters that even a simple cloth coverings can help people “who may have the virus and do not know it keep from transmitting to others.”

Those who wish to ensure that their ecommerce livelihood isn’t in the hands of a 3rd party platform may want to be sure to only sell on their own website.

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