Facebook Eases Social Issues Ads Policy to Allow Product-Targeted Ads to Run With no Disclaimer

Facebook has announced An update to the Social Issues Ad Policy that will significantly reduce the rigor of the Social Issues Eligibility Criteria to ensure that more ads can be served without the “paid by” disclaimer.

In summary after the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook implemented a number of new restrictions and parameters All about political and topic-related advertisements, in order to create more transparency about who finances and promotes measures to influence public opinion.

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

As explained by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

“To be verified, advertisers need to confirm their identity and location. Any advertiser who fails the exam is prohibited from serving political ads or posting ads. We’ll label them too, and advertisers need to show you who paid for them. “

Essentially, that has resulted in any Facebook advertisement related to a social issue requiring both a confirmation and a “paid by” disclaimer that users can tap to find out more about the company or organization behind to experience these campaigns.

But now Facebook is looking for it let that be a little loose:

“Since the main purpose of some of these ads isn’t advocacy, we’re changing the way we deal with a subset of them. Advertisers no longer need to complete the authorization process or use the “Paid By” disclaimer for placement when we discover that an ad meets the following three criteria:

  1. A product or service is shown prominently in the advertisement or named or referenced in the advertisement;
  2. The main purpose of the ad is to sell a product or promote a service, even if the ad content involves advocacy for a social issue; and
  3. The ad content contains a call-to-action to buy or use the product or service. “

If an ad now relates to a social issue but explicitly sells a product instead of using an advocacy group, it will not fall under the same regulation.

Facebook has provided a few examples to illustrate the change:

“No more ad for social problems: “Our new show“ Our only future ”, how we can combat climate change, will premiere in your city next month. Buy your early bird tickets now for € 10. “

Facebook says that since this ad promotes a product and doesn’t specifically advocate a social issue, it would no longer require approval and the “paid by” disclaimer.

Social issues ad: “Our leather patches have just arrived. Each patch is embroidered with “Support for the refugees”. Shopping now!”

On the flip side, although this example does advertise a product, it clearly contains messages of social issues so a disclaimer would still be required.

For example, how the same process relates to an image of a product that doesn’t have the specifics in the text is probably more difficult to pinpoint, but every ad is subject to review and the basic impetus is that brands can promote related products and social networks Publish services as long as the ad does not specifically advertise action or support as such. If so, they can of course continue to run the ad, but they will have to go through the authorization process.

But even then, it seems a little confusing. Based on my reading of the three regulations above, this last example shouldn’t actually be classified as a problem ad as it focuses on one product as its primary promotional CTA.

Confusion seems likely to arise, but the gist is that Facebook – or Meta – wants to make it easier for more brands to serve more ads by reducing the responsibility for them to go through the stricter steps to display products apply that there are tangentially related to social issues.

In all fairness it looks pretty spotty and pretty prone to abuse, but the Facebook ad team will take responsibility for enforcing it, which should hopefully limit potential gray areas or abuse.

Though I wouldn’t bet on it. For example, if I sell t-shirts that say “climate change is a joke” but don’t include that in the caption text and it’s the ad for a product, could that slip through the newly created shape cracks in that policy? And let’s say I work for the oil and gas lobby – wouldn’t that be an important transparency disclaimer?

In any case, the policy has been updated, adding new considerations for affected advertisers and organizations.

You can read more about Facebook’s Social Issues Ad Policy here.

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