The Center for Intimacy Justice recently released a report charging Facebook and Instagram with applying their advertising policies inconsistently for "adult products," depending on whether the product was targeted to men or to women and people of diverse genders.  The Center said, "The importance of changing Facebook and tech platforms' discriminatory policies is far-reaching." 

Facebook's "Adult Products or Services" policy provides that advertising that runs on Facebook must not "promote the sale or use of adult products or services."  The policy also provides that, "Ads promoting sexual and reproductive health products and services, like contraception and family planning must be targeted to people 18 years or old and must not focus on sexual pleasure." 

Facebook explains that these types of claims are not be allowed:

  • "Buy our sex toys for your adult pleasure";
  • "Use our gel to dramatically improve your sex life"; and 
  • "Condoms, sex tips and more.  Pleasure guaranteed!"

Facebook says it does, permit, however, these types of claims:

  • "Free condoms now available at all local health centers"; 
  • "Practice safe sex with our brand of condoms"; and 
  • "New moisturizing lube to relieve vaginal dryness on a day to day basis." 

The Center for Intimacy Justice's report claims that Facebook and Instagram rejected ads for a variety of health and wellness products targeting women and people of diverse genders (for companies selling products related to menopause, pelvic pain, pregnancy, postpartum care, menstrual heath, sexual wellness, and other areas), but accepted advertising for erectile dysfunction, genital care, lubricant, and other products directed toward men.  

The Center said that, of the businesses that it surveyed that serve women's health and health for people of diverse genders, that attempted to advertise on Facebook or Instagram, all of them had had advertising rejected by Facebook or Instagram -- and many reported having their entire advertising accounts suspended.