Fake cancer treatment groups banned on Facebook

Groups promoting the use of black salve have been banned from the social media site.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert

Facebook has banned groups promoting the use of black salve as a cancer treatment, a report says.

Angela Lang/CNET

Several groups promoting fake cancer treatments have been banned from Facebook. Two of the groups that have now been shut out had around 33,000 members, according to BuzzFeed News Tuesday, and were removed from the social media site under Facebook's rules about violent and criminal behavior. 

The groups had promoted the use of black salve to fight skin cancer and other types of cancer including breast cancer, BuzzFeed said, describing it as a caustic paste made of chloride and bloodroot that eats away at your flesh.

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The US Food and Drug Administration considers black salve an illegal cancer treatment. The Facebook groups had shared DIY recipes and provided info on where to buy it outside the country, the report said. 

Facebook wants everyone using its platform to feel safe and is continually reviewing its Groups for any violations, a spokesperson said in an emailed comment.

"[We] take appropriate action against any Group found to be breaking our policies as soon as we become aware of it," the Facebook spokesperson said. "The Groups have been removed for violating our policies on Violence and Criminal Behavior."

Originally published Dec. 17.
Update, Dec. 18: Adds comment from Facebook.

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