Facebook introduces new policies for political, social issue ads ahead of 2020 elections

Facebook introduces new policies for political, social issue ads ahead of 2020 elections


Political advertisers on Facebook required to include EIN or FEC numbers.

Facebook has updated its ad policies for political advertisers and anyone running electoral or social issue ads. The new policies, which include new disclaimer requirements for political advertisers and updates to the company’s list of social issue topics in the U.S, were introduced on Wednesday and apply to ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclaimer requirements for political, electoral and social issue ads. Beginning mid-September, any advertiser running political, electoral or social issue ads will need to give Facebook more details about their organization. Advertisers will have five options to provide further information:

  • A tax-registered organization identification number (EIN).
  • A Federal Election Commission (FEC) identification number.
  • A government website domain (.gov or .mil) that matches the advertiser’s email.
  • For smaller advertisers or local politicians that may not have an EIN or FEC number, or a government-run website, they can submit their organization name along with a verifiable phone number, mail-deliverable address and business website along with an email address that matches the business website domain.
  • Small advertisers can also rely solely on their Facebook Page admin’s legal name that is attached to a their personal identification document. (Advertisers using this option will not be able to use a registered organization name in their ad disclaimer.)

Any advertisers running political, electoral or social issue ads who fail to comply with the new requirements by mid-October will have their ads paused.

New ad labels. Facebook is also updating its labels for political, electoral and social issue ads. Now, when a user taps the “i” icon that includes either the “Confirmed Organization” or “About this Ad” language, they will see the information Facebook has confirmed. For example, a “Confirmed Organization” label will show the EIN or FEC number provided by the advertisers. The “About this Ad” label will include the organization’s phone number and email address.

“This will allow people to confidently gauge the legitimacy of an organization and quickly raise questions or concerns if they find anything out of the ordinary,” writes Facebook Public Policy Director Katie Harbath and Product Manager Sarah Schiff.

Social Issue ad categories. Previously, Facebook assigned its social issue ad topics to 20 distinct subject areas. The company is revising how it categorizes social issue ads with a new list of ten categories for the U.S.:

  • Civil and social rights
  • Crime
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Environmental politics
  • Guns
  • Health
  • Immigration
  • Political values and governance
  • Security and foreign policy

Facebook said it purposely made this list of categories broad so that it can be refined over time and that the categories are evolving and may be narrowed or expanded over time.

“This list is meant to be fluid to reflect the public discourse around social issues on and off Facebook that seek to influence public opinion through advocacy,” writes Harbath and Schiff.

Why we should care. These updates apply not only to marketers managing ad campaigns for political candidates, but also anyone overseeing ads for an organization attached to political causes that may be running social issue ads.

As we near the 2020 U.S. election cycle, the number of political, electoral and social issue ads will only increase — which means more ad dollars being allocated to Facebook. Marketers responsible for running political, electoral or social issue ads on Facebook and Instagram will need to stay on top of the company’s ad policies to make sure their ad campaigns run smoothly.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



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