While alcohol and tobacco sales were already prohibited on Marketplace, Facebook is now extending the policy: Sales of those products will not be allowed any longer between users on Facebook or Instagram, CNBC reported.
A spokesperson for Facebook said in an emailed statement, per the report, “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.”
Sazerac CEO Mark Brown had reportedly accused Facebook, Craigslist and eBay of letting individuals sell counterfeit bottles of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, in addition to empty bottles of the product that are then used by counterfeiters. With regulations intended to protect consumers from buying tainted alcohol, the United States has a three-tiered distribution system for spirits.
“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. The outlet reported that eBay only allows licensed and preapproved wine sellers to sell alcohol. Craigslist did not respond to a request for comment.
Alcohol is one of the most regulated retail goods. Regulations aren’t always consistent state to state, or even town to town. And even nearly 100 years post-Prohibition, there are dozens of towns throughout the U.S. where the sale of alcohol is still illegal.
Due to the unique three-tiered sales process, alcohol producers – wineries, distilleries and brewers – have to sell their products to wholesalers. The system is controversial within the industry. Critics point out that it creates an unnecessary layer of middlemen that unnecessarily raises prices, while supporters note that it controls the flow of alcohol within the country.