Facebook recently updated its policies on social issue advertising based on feedback that its heightened requirements should not apply to certain types of ads.  Under Facebook's new guidelines, ads whose primary purpose is to sell a product or promote a service, rather than engage in advocacy, will no longer be considered "social issue ads."  This types of ads will no longer have to complete Facebook's ad authorization process or include a “Paid for by” disclaimer. 

Facebook's Ads About Social Issues, Elections or Politics policy allows advertisers to run ads about social issues, elections or politics, provided that they comply with all applicable laws and Facebook's authorization process. Where appropriate, Facebook may choose to restrict issue, electoral or political ads. In addition, certain content related to elections can be prohibited in specific regions ahead of voting. This policy was designed to give people more information about ads that have the potential to influence public opinion for or against important topics, like environmental issues or civil and social rights.

Advertisers will no longer be required to meet these requirements if Facebook determines an ad includes the following criteria:

  1. A product or service is prominently shown in use or named or referenced in the ad;
  2. 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
  3. The ad content contains a call-to-action to purchase or use the product or service.

Nonetheless, Facebook emphasized its continuing commitment to transparency. Therefore this update will not apply to ads that promote products or services if the ad content is about, by or includes politicians, political parties, elections or legislation. Facebook will also still require authorization and a “Paid for by” disclaimer on ads that include social issue advocacy directly on the product, promote free products or services, or state that 100% of profits go to a social issue cause.