Facebook simplifies social policy ads to allow product-targeted ads to run without disclaimer

Facebook has announced an update to its social media ad policy that will substantially reduce the stringency of its social media qualifiers, ensuring that more ads can run without disclaimer.

To summarize, following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook has introduced a number of new restrictions and parameters regarding policy ads and topic-based advertising, to provide greater transparency as to who funds and promotes actions designed to influence public opinion. .

A key element in this is the requirement that everyone advertisers who want to run political ads or ads must be verified.

As Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained:

“To be verified, advertisers will need to verify their identity and location. Any advertiser who fails will be barred from running political ads or advertisements. We will also tag them and advertisers will have to show you who paid for them. ”

This, in essence, meant that any Facebook ad related to any social issue required both verification and a disclaimer, which users can touch to learn more about the company or organization behind these campaigns.

But now, Facebook wants to alleviate that a bit:

“Since the primary purpose of some of these ads is not advocacy, we are changing the way we approach their subset. Advertisers will no longer be required to complete the authorization process or include a “Paid by” disclaimer for delivery if we determine that the ad includes the following three criteria:

  1. The product or service is prominently displayed in use or named or referenced in the advertisement;
  2. The primary purpose of an ad is to sell a product or promote a service, even if the content of the ad involves advocating for a social issue; i
  3. The content of the advertisement contains a call to action to purchase or use the product or service. ”

So, now, if the ad refers to a social issue, but explicitly sells the product, as opposed to linking to advocacy, it will not be under the same regulations.

Facebook has given a few examples to illustrate the change:

“It is no longer an advertisement for a social issue: “Our new show,“ Our Only Future, ”about how we can deal with climate change will premiere next month in your city. Buy tickets for early entry now for € 10. ”

Facebook says that because this ad promotes a product rather than advocating a particular social issue, it would no longer require authorization and a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer.

Ad for social issue: “Our leather patches have just arrived. Each patch was exported with ‘Support refugees’. Buy now! “

On the other hand, although this example promotes the product, it clearly states the messages of advocating social issues, so it would still require a disclaimer.

As this same process applies to, say, a product image that does not include specifics in the text, it is probably more difficult to determine, but each ad is subject to review, and the basic incentive here is that brands can promote social products and services related to the problem does not advocate action or support as such. If so, then they can, of course, still run the ad, but will have to go through the authorization process.

But even then, it looks a little confusing. Based on my reading of the three rules above, this last example should not actually be classified as an advertisement, as it focuses on the product as its primary promotional CTA.

There seems likely to be some confusion, but the bottom line is that Facebook – or Meta – wants to make it easier for more brands to run more ads by reducing their burden of going through stricter steps to promote products that are tangentially related to social issues.

Honestly, it looks pretty bleak and quite open to abuse, but the Facebook ad team will take responsibility for enforcement, which should hopefully limit any potential gray areas or abuse.

I wouldn’t bet on that though. If, for example, I sell T-shirts that say ‘climate change is a hoax’, but do not include it in the text of the label, and the ad is for a product, could it be cracked through the newly formed cracks in this policy? And let’s say I work for the oil and gas lobby – wouldn’t that be an important disclaimer for transparency?

In any case, the rules have been updated, which will add new considerations for affected advertisers and organizations.

You can read more about Facebook’s advertising policy for social issues here.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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