Sales of alcohol and tobacco-related products will from now on be strictly prohibited on Facebook and Instagram.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “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.”
Mark Brown, CEO of alcoholic beverage company Sazerac, accused Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay of allowing private users to sell the counterfeit bottles of their proprietary Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, as well as empty bottles of the drink which are then used by counterfeiters to pass off the bourbon as the real deal.
The US has a three-tiered distribution system in place for spirits, and it is these regulations that prevent consumers from buying and being poisoned with tainted alcoholic products.
Brown said: “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.”
Multiple listings for empty bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, Macallan scotch whiskey, Louis XIII cognac, and similar expensive and high-end liquor from recent years can still be found on each of the accused sites.
Facebook said that this practice is already prohibited in its Marketplace and other sections of their platform. eBay claims that only preapproved and licensed wine sellers can sell alcohol on their website. At the time of writing, Craigslist has not yet responded with a comment.
The WSWA (Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America) has said that the illicit alcohol trade is costing an estimated $45-50 billion in lost profits each year.