The Politics of Facebook

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The Politics of Facebook

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica and Russian scandal ahead of the the 2016 presidential election, Facebook has decided to announce a few major changes to its political ad policies. This is an effort to make political ads transparent to Facebook’s audiences so that it will become more clear to you and your Facebookies that “Yes, this is a sponsored political ad.” But wait! there’s more! Facebook will also require these ads to clearly state who paid for them. Starting to sound a little familiar to those political television ads that we love seeing so much right?

That being said, the process of publishing political ads has changed as well and there are a few boxes that need to be checked off before you run your first political ad. So, whether you are a marketer, influencer, advertiser or a candidate looking to do your own marketing, we’re here to help you get started.

We love seeing that “Your ad was approved” email pop up in our inbox, but, from now on, these are the new guidelines you will need to follow — and when they go into effect — before getting that alert. So bookmark this page and let’s get to it, shall we?

MAY 7th

Authorized advertisers must begin labeling ads

“Starting Monday, May 7, if you’ve successfully met the requirements for authorization to run political ads you’ll begin to see a “This is a political ad” indicator during the ad creation process. You must use this indicator (a checkbox or switch, depending on what product you’re using) to let us know whether an ad is political.”

Political ads saved to archive

“The political ad label will not be publicly visible on ads until May 22, but we are making the option available in advance to enable advertisers to properly set up their campaigns and to help avoid disruptions in delivery. The label that appears in the preview during ads creation may not be the final label that appears to the public starting May 22. Starting then, ads will display “paid for by” plus the approved disclaimer selected during the authorization process. Ads marked as political will also become part of the archive when it launches.”

MAY 22nd

Political ads must be labeled

“Starting May 22, political ads must be indicated as such during creation, and only advertisers who have provided the elements to become authorized will be permitted to run political ads on Facebook. Running of political ads by advertisers who have not met all elements for authorization will not be permitted.”

By the time you’re reading this you should’ve either begun the process or have successfully completed your authorization process if you plan to run political ads on Facebook. If you haven’t yet, these are the steps to get authorized.

  • Page admins and ad account admins will submit copies of their government-issued ID to Facebook and provide a residential mailing address for verification.

  • Facebook will confirm each address by mailing a letter with a unique access code that only the admin’s Facebook account can use.

  • Advertisers will have to disclose who paid for the ads.

It is very important to have these in order before the May 22 deadline to be able to run any political ads. So get to it!

JUNE 4th

Facebook will review currently running ads

“By June 4th, all of your active political ads should be recreated to meet these new standards. Political ads not meeting new standards will be disapproved and added to the archive. Advertisers will be notified and will need to recreate their ad.”

So, right away Facebook will give you the opportunity to indicate whether or not the ad is political. You may ask, however, “what if I run an ad that is political in nature but failed to indicate that fact?” Good question. Although using the political ad option is voluntary, Facebook users everywhere will have the ability to report existing ads that do not identify as political but do, in fact, contain political messaging. Once such a report is made, the ad will be reviewed and, if found to be political, removed from active status and sent to the archive. Best way to avoid this? Indicate that your ads are political from the beginning.

Did this help? Which of Facebook’s new policies do you think will make the biggest difference in the future of political advertising? Let us know in the comments below.

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