Today Facebook published an update on the changes it is making to ads focused on social issues, elections or politics in the United States.
First, why do we care? Beyond the possible implications for the 2020 election, even if you’re not an advertiser that has any involvement in politics or elections, the broad scope of the social issues requirements may affect you. For example, if you’re a nonprofit’s mission includes any of the issues on Facebook’s social issue list, you won’t be able to run ads until you become authorized. Or if you are a business and want to host a fundraiser for a nonprofit, you may not be able to boost your event without being authorized. If your ad makes mention of a health, environmental or education social issue, it will also be declined until you get authorized.
Below we break down the latest updates.
Changes to Authorizations & Disclaimers
In 2018, Facebook began requiring advertisers to become authorized before running ads regarding social issues, elections or politics and archiving all such ads in a searchable ad library. Advertiser authorization requires advertisers to provide identification to confirm who they are and where they are located. Advertisers are also required to place a “paid for by” disclaimer on their ads.
Facebook says that it has encountered enough cases of advertisers using misleading “paid for by” disclaimers that — starting next month — organizations will need to submit more information before their disclaimer is approved.
For most companies this means providing Facebook with one of the following:
- Tax-registered organization identification number (i.e., EIN)
- A government website domain that matches an email ending in .gov or .mil
- Federal Election Commission identification number
However, Facebook says there are smaller businesses and politicians that may not have these credentials, in which case they can provide:
- Their organization name with a verifiable phone number, business email, mailing address and a business website with a domain that matches the email.
- Rely on the page administrator’s legal name on their personal identification document. For this option, the advertiser will not be able to use a registered organization name in disclaimers.
Updates to Facebook’s Social Issues List
Facebook also says it is updating its list of social issues to 10 categories from 20 subject areas. Facebook says it made the categories broad to give the company more leeway to refine them in the future. The 10 categories are:
- Civil and social rights
- Environmental politics
- Political values and governance
- Security and foreign policy
Coming Up for Facebook Ads
Facebook also announced its plans for future changes, including:
- Ad library improvements, such as making it easier to track and compare election campaign spending
- Expanding its policy prohibiting ads that discourage people from voting
- Requiring all national politicians and candidates to go through a page publishing authorization
- Providing additional information about Facebook pages, such as the organization behind it
Read the full update from Facebook.