Advertisers who use Facebook have seen a lot of recent action from the platform. Facebook declared its intention to compete with the Amazon Echo and launch a video chat device, "Portal."   As we recently reported, Facebook announced in the last few weeks that it will no longer accept advertising for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  And perhaps most significantly, the platform created worldwide news with its recent proclamation that unpaid content shared by businesses and publishers would be de-prioritized in the platform's News Feed algorithm.  

While the world debates the future of unpaid advertising on Facebook, we thought it would be important to remind you of some of the other important (but perhaps less well known) watch-outs when advertising on Facebook.  Here are a few highlights:

While it might be obvious that Facebook ads can’t contain “adult content,” note that Facebook goes as far as prohibiting anything “suggestive,” “shocking,” or “sensational.”  Facebook also forbids ads that exploit controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes.  Given the current state of the world, this is a notably high bar.

Facebook also cares about spelling and grammar.  Facebook ads can’t contain profanity or bad grammar or punctuation.  Further, symbols, numbers and letters must be used properly without the intention of circumventing Facebook’s review process or other enforcement systems.

While Facebook is famous for its behavioral advertising capabilities, it actually prohibits ads that obviously assert or even imply a user’s personal attributes. Essentially, advertisers can’t make direct or indirect statements or implications in an ad about a viewer’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record, or name.

Facebook also cares about the user experience.  As a result, ads can’t contain audio or flash animation that plays automatically without a person's interaction, or one that expands within Facebook after someone clicks on the ad. Ads can’t direct people to non-functional landing pages, contain images that portray nonexistent functionality, or contain content leading to external landing pages that provide an unexpected or disruptive experience.

Facebook puts the onus on advertisers when it comes to truth in advertising and IP issues.  As a result, ads can’t contain infringing, deceptive, false, or misleading content, or even "before-and-after" images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results.