Background on Facebook’s New Issue Ad Requirements
For the past few months, Facebook’s data usage and political advertising policies have been the subject of intense public scrutiny. Now, in the wake of data-breach allegations and congressional hearings surrounding the use of its platform by foreign agents to influence the 2016 Presidential Election, it’s finally making some changes.
Facebook’s New Policies + Regulations for Political or Issue-based Content
Facebook has created new requirements for Pages and advertisers looking to promote political or issue-based content. What is especially interesting here is that the types of content impacted by these regulations are broader than one might originally think. The public interest topics identified by Facebook range from the US economy to the US military. The list also includes topics related to many businesses that advertise on social media, including education, energy, health, and taxes. The social network has indicated that the list of issues, which can be found on its Business Help Center website, will evolve over time.
Another critical part of the new regulations pertains to who is allowed to publish and promote political content. For obvious reasons, Facebook will be keeping a much tighter leash here – only US advertisers who live in the US and who plan to target people in the US with ads will be eligible. Facebook will now require advertisers and brands to confirm their identity and add a new “paid for by” disclaimer within ads.
Facebook’s Identity Confirmation
Facebook’s identity confirmation process is incredibly thorough. To advertise on Facebook or amplify content related to one of these public interest topics, advertisers will need to confirm their individual identities with the social network and link Ad Accounts with the Pages that will be used for advertising.
Advertiser identities are confirmed after three safety checks are in place:
- Enabling two-factor authentication
- Entering the last four digits of a social security number, along with an image of the individual advertiser’s passport or driver’s license
- Confirming a home mailing address with a mailed confirmation code
To complete the steps and to view progress, visit facebook.com/id.
Linking Ad Accounts To Facebook Pages
After an advertiser’s identity has been confirmed, the user must then link a Page with the Ad Account(s) it will be using for advertising. This is done within Page Settings under the Authorizations section.
For each combination of Ad Account and Page that are connected, a unique disclaimer will appear above an ad published by the Page to identify the entity paying for the ad to appear. The disclaimer must be written and submitted by a Page administrator whose identity has been confirmed by Facebook. Additional disclaimer details include:
- Each disclaimer begins with “paid for by” and should be followed by the business name – for example, Collective Measures’ ads appear as “Paid for by Collective Measures / Performance Digital”
- Advertisers have 360 characters available to add to the disclaimer
- All disclaimers are reviewed by Facebook for approval, which can take up to 24 hours
- Disclaimers can be edited at any time, but will need to be re-reviewed by Facebook before appearing
WHAT Facebook’s Ad Regulations Mean For Marketers
Facebook’s attempt to regulate and authenticate issue-based advertising will be beneficial to political discussion in the US, but the new requirements will add a layer of complexity for some advertisers. Businesses promoting content related to one of the topics being monitored will need to adhere to the new advertising regulations or they will be unable to amplify organic content or advertise on both Facebook and Instagram. For example, a health care provider posting about a public health issue like diabetes would need to add the disclaimer to promote the post.
Given that Facebook’s list of national issues may evolve over time, other businesses may soon find themselves required to mark content as political or be unable to advertise within the platform – even if the content in question has been successfully published to Facebook in the past. If an ad or promoted post is disapproved by the platform due to its political nature, check the “this ad includes political content” box within Ads Manager and resubmit for review.
It is also likely that Facebook will streamline the process for agencies and major political advertisers to gain approval to post. In the meantime, companies should expect longer review times and may need to update internal policies to protect employees that submit personal information to Facebook during the identity confirmation process. Members of the Collective Measures team have already completed the identity confirmation process and can link Ad Accounts to Pages for disclaimer creation on behalf of clients.