Fb Eases Social Points Advertisements Coverage to Permit Product-Centered Advertisements to Run With no Disclaimer
Facebook announced an update to its social ad policy that will substantially reduce the rigor of its social eligibility criteria to ensure more ads can be served without the “paid by” disclaimer.
In summary, following the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook introduced a number of new restrictions and parameters on political and thematic ads to create more transparency about who is funding and promoting 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 Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains:
“To be verified, advertisers need to confirm their identity and location. Any advertiser who does not pass the test will be prohibited from placing political or advertising advertisements. 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 learn more about the company or organization behind to experience these campaigns.
But now Facebook is trying to loosen it up a bit:
“Because 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:
- A product or service is shown prominently in the advertisement or named or referenced in the advertisement;
- The main purpose of the ad is to sell a product or advertise a service, even if the ad content involves advocacy for a social issue; and
- The ad content contains a call-to-action to buy or use the product or service. “
Now, if an ad 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 ”, on 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 is promoting a product and not specifically advocating 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 applies to a product image that doesn’t have the specifics in the text is probably harder to determine, but every ad is subject to review and the basic impetus is that brands can socialize to promote related products and services as long as the ad does not specifically advertise measures 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 quite prone to abuse, but the Facebook ad team will take responsibility for enforcing it, which should hopefully limit any possible 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 are the ad for a product, could that slip through the newly created 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 event, the policy has been updated adding new considerations for affected advertisers and organizations.
For more information on Facebook’s social advertising policies, please visit here.