Facebook is removing identity verification requirements and “Paid for by” disclaimers for social issue ads that comply with three criteria.
Facebook is easing restrictions on policies introduced during the 2016 US Presidential Elections, which required brands and entities placing ads around social issues to have a verified account and a disclaimer of who paid for the campaign.
Back in 2016, Facebook introduced restrictions for ads centered around political and social issues to provide more transparency as to who was funding ads designed to influence public opinion, as well as an opportunity for users to learn more about the company or organization behind these campaigns.
The change required all advertisers running political or issue ads to be verified before placing their ads.
“To get verified, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Any advertiser who doesn’t pass will be prohibited from running political or issue ads. We will also label them, and advertisers will have to show you who paid for them,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a 2018 Facebook post.
But now, a Meta For Business post announces that Facebook is easing back on these requirements if an ad relates to a social or political issue but is explicitly selling a product.
As the announcement states, the company has noticed in the years that “the primary purpose of some of these ads is not to engage in advocacy.” Because of this, Facebook is now no longer requiring advertisers to necessarily get verified nor to include a “Paid for by” disclaimer, but only for ads that have the following three criteria:
- A product or service is prominently shown in use or named or referenced in the ad;
- The primary purpose of the ad is to sell a product or promote a service, even if the ad content includes advocacy for a social issue; and
- The ad content contains a call-to-action to purchase or use the product or service.
To ensure clarity, the announcement offers some examples of use cases. An example of a social issue-related ad that Facebook will no longer restrict under the older policy as it explicitly sells a product is: “Our new show, ‘Our Only Future,’ on how we can tackle climate change will premiere next month in your city. Purchase your early-bird tickets now for €10.”
Any such ad would no longer require authorization and the “paid for by” disclaimer. An example of an ad that clearly states social issue advocacy messaging and would still require a disclaimer is: “Our leather patches just arrived. Each patch is embroidered with ‘Support refugees.’ Shop now!”