WASHINGTON — Facebook has removed advertisements from illegal online pharmacies following questions brought up during a congressional hearing this week.

U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the advertisements when Zuckerberg was before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. The advertisements were against Facebook’s terms and conditions.

“We know that drug dealers, doctors and pharmacists running pill mills, and distributors in the pharmaceutical industry are responsible for the scourge of the opioid epidemic, but when it was brought to our attention that these drugs are being sold on Facebook, we needed to take steps to address it,” McKinley said in a statement Friday. “This won’t solve the whole problem, but it is a step in the right direction.”

“We are encouraged that Facebook took down the ads once we pointed them out in the hearing, and we recognize that they can’t manually catch every occurrence of drugs being listed for sale. Facebook has been extremely successful in developing tools and algorithms to stop certain types of content from being pushed on the site, and we’re hopeful they will do the same to stop the sale of drugs,” he added.

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