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Facebook Eases Social Issues Ads Policy to Allow Product-Focused Ads to Run Without a Disclaimer



Facebook has announced an update to its social issues ad policy that will essentially reduce the stringency of its social issues qualifiers, ensuring more ads can run without the ‘paid for by’ disclaimer notice.

As a recap, in the wake of the 2016 US Presidential Election, Facebook implemented a range of new restrictions and parameters around political and issues-based ads, in order to provide more transparency as to who’s funding and promoting pushes designed to influence public opinion.

A key element within this is the requirement that all advertisers who seek to run political or issue ads need to be verified.

As explained by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

“To get verified, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Any advertiser who doesn’t pass will be prohibited from running political or issue ads. We will also label them and advertisers will have to show you who paid for them.”

That, essentially, has meant that any Facebook ad relating to any social issue requires both verification and a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer note, which users can tap on to learn more about the company or organization behind these campaigns.

But now, Facebook’s looking to ease back on that slightly:

“Because the primary purpose of some of these ads is not to engage in advocacy, we’re changing the way we approach a subset of them. Advertisers will no longer be required to complete the authorization process or include a “Paid for by” disclaimer to run if we determine an ad includes the below three criteria:

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

So now, if an ad relates to a social issue, but is explicitly selling a product, as opposed to linking back to advocacy, it won’t come under the same regulation.

Facebook has provided a few examples to illustrate the change:

“No longer a social issue ad: “Our new show, “Our Only Future,” on how we can tackle climate change will premiere next month in your city. Purchase your early-bird tickets now for €10.”

Facebook says that because this ad promotes a product, and doesn’t advocate for a social issue specifically, this would no longer require authorization and the ‘paid for by’ disclaimer.

Social issue ad: “Our leather patches just arrived. Each patch is embroidered with ‘Support refugees.’ Shop now!”

On the flip side, while this example does promote a product, it clearly states social issue advocacy messaging, so it would still require a disclaimer.

How that same process relates to, say, an image of a product that doesn’t include the specifics in the text, is probably harder to determine, but each ad is subject to review, and the basic push here is that brands can promote social issue related products and services, so long as the ad doesn’t specifically advocate for action or support, as such. If it does, then they can, of course, still run the ad, but they’ll need to go through the authorization process.

But even then, it seems a little confusing. Based on my reading of the three regulations noted above, this last example should actually not be classified as an issues ad, as it is focused on a product as its primary promotional CTA.

It seems likely that there will be some confusion, but the gist is that Facebook – or Meta – wants to make it easier for more brands to run more ads by reducing the onus on them to go through the more stringent steps to promote products that are tangentially related to social issues.

Honestly, it looks fairly spotty, and fairly open to misuse, but the Facebook ads team will take on responsibility for enforcement, which should hopefully limit any potential gray areas or misuse.

Though I wouldn’t bet on it. If, for example, I sell t-shirts that say ‘climate change is a hoax’, but I don’t include that in the caption text, and the ad is for a product, would that be able to slip through the newly formed cracks in this policy? And let’s say I’m working for the oil and gas lobby – wouldn’t that be an important disclaimer for transparency?

Either way, the policy has been updated, which will add new considerations for impacted advertisers and organizations.

You can read more about Facebook’s social issues ads policy here.

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Twitter Shares New Insights Into Holiday Shopping Trends [Infographic]



The data shows that people are planning earlier, while fashion-related topics are high on the agenda.


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TikTok Announces Fundraising Initiatives for Giving Tuesday, $7m in Direct Donations for Mission-Driven Organizations



TikTok will run a series of live-streams throughout December to highlight various charitable groups and causes.


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Instagram Launches Live Test of Longer Videos in Stories



After it was spotted in testing last month, Instagram has now officially launched a live test of 60-second videos in Stories, which will mean that longer video clips will no longer be split into 15-second segments, and played across various Stories frames.

As noted, last month, app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi shared this message, stored in the back-end code of the app, which is now being displayed to some users in the live environment.

We asked Instagram about the update, and it provided this statement:

The ability to create longer Stories posts comes highly requested by our community. We’re excited to be testing 60-second Stories so that people can create and view Stories with fewer interruptions.” 

Instagram says that the option is currently being tested with a small group of users, with a view to providing more creative freedom, and further integrating the app’s various video options to streamline its creative tools and functions.

Which, really, is the key focus. Back in January, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri flagged a coming consolidation of the app’s video products, with a view to better facilitating creation, and scaling back the platform’s various tools. That started with the merging of its video feed posts into a single format early last month, along with the retirement of the IGTV brand.  

As Mosseri explained to Decoder:

“We’re looking about how we can – not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram – simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”

The re-thinking of its approach has been largely influenced by TikTok, which has become the most popular social app among young users, overtaking Instagram as the cool place to be.

Part of TikTok’s core appeal is simplicity – on TikTok, you open to a full-screen feed of video clips and live-streams, with all of it combined into one, optimized, focused listing, tailored to each individual user.

Instagram is far more segmented, with Reels in a separate feed, and Stories in its own section. That could be restricting optimal take-up, which is why Instagram’s now looking to bring all of these elements together, which will also, eventually, enable it to showcase the best of each aspect in a single, more-engaging stream.

The expansion to 60-second video clips in Stories is another step in this gradual merging, which, at some stage, will likely see the app open to a full-screen feed of Stories, feed posts and Reels, all in one, enabling IG, like TikTok, to use the full breadth of uploaded content to maximize user engagement.

It’s still a way off that next stage, but longer videos will mean that users can now post full Reels to Stories, for example, essentially merging the two functions automatically. Then it’s just determining how it shifts from the traditional feed to a more Stories/Reels aligned one instead.

That’s a bigger step, and a more fundamental change for the app. But as part of Meta’s broader focus on winning back younger users, you can bet that it’s coming, and likely sooner, rather than later.

Which is why this new test is a significant step. It’s limited for now, but you can expect to see longer Stories videos coming to your Instagram app sometime soon.


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