Restricted and Prohibited: Facebook Ad Rules to Live by, Part 2 of 2

We’re back with Part 2 of our insight on Facebook’s restricted and prohibited ad content. Today, it’s all about the prohibited kinds, so pay close attention! Whether managing ads for yourself or selling Facebook ads to a customer, it’s important to understand Facebook’s advertising guidelines clearly, particularly around restricted and prohibited content. Otherwise, your ad could get delayed or removed, and worse, your page could get flagged for publishing prohibited content.

That Facebook has rules that restrict or prohibit certain content is a really a benefit to us all. The rules represent not only good advertising practices but good common sense and decency.

Part 2: Prohibited Ad Content

Is it Art or Porn?
Don’t tell me you won’t know the difference when you see it. Any ads that tout adult content, like nudity or suggestive activities, or adult products or services, like…well, you know, are prohibited. We all know that sex sells. Just not on Facebook.

Road Runner cartoons are great, but if Wile E. Coyote hopes to find some new ACME rockets on Facebook, he’ll be out of luck. Facebook ads promoting weapons, explosives or ammunition are nowhere to be found.

No Smokin’ or Tokin’
No tobacco. No drugs. No tobacco or drug-related products, like roach clips or vaporizers. Not that we would know. And while we’re talking about drugs, if Facebook deems your supplement unsafe, as it does with anabolic steroids, chitosan and comfrey, for example, don’t even try.  

That’s Shocking!
Nore gore found here please. Nothing violent or, you know, gross. No one comes to Facebook to be grossed out or scared to death.

404s and Other Junk
Who’d want to promote a broken link anyway? But this rule includes websites with features that interfere with a user’s ability to navigate away from a page, like pop-ups. In the same vein, low quality, junky ads that take the user to unexpected or disruptive experiences or sites with minimal original content are out. And since we’re talking about controversial content, I may as well mention that this includes questionable political or social issues being used for commercial purposes.

I Spy
Whether you’re using a webcam or a piece of software to spy on someone or what they are doing, online or offline, advertising about it is a no-go. Just don’t.

Pants on Fire
In this day and age, it might be hard to tell truth from fiction, but if you’re in advertising, you’re going to have to try. No misleading or flat-out false content is allowed. If they can figure out which is which.

Class it up
Nothing says spam faster than PEOPLE WHO USE ALL CAPS or tend to use exclamation points excessively!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, don’t be profane. And spelling the “S word” with a $ symbol will get you busted too. Keep it classy.

Don’t Discriminate
Speaking of keeping it classy, ads can’t discriminate based on all the things you’d expect – race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, etc.

Don’t Take it Personal
Of course, the expression is actually “Don’t take it personally,” but we got it wrong on purpose to make the point. Facebook ads can’t suggest that the advertiser knows you or your personal traits. This one is a little trickier to understand and we get a ton of questions about it. If an ad said something like, “Need a personal injury lawyer due to your accident?” This implies it knows you had an accident, and that’s not okay.

Not the Land of Make-Believe
Using your imagination is great if you’re a kid. But if you want to place an ad on Facebook, it has to be about something that actually exists.

Need a payday or cash advance loan? Don’t look for suppliers on Facebook. It’s not a thing here. Nor are ads promoting income opportunities classified as “multi-level marketing” or that promote “quick compensation” business models. Try daytime television instead, say during the Jerry Springer show.

No Fake IDs
Does it come as any surprise that Facebook doesn’t allow ads that promote counterfeit documents?

Cheap Tricks
Ads can’t promote penny auctions or bidding fee auctions. Ads also can’t contain flash animation that plays automatically without the person’s interaction. That’s tacky.

I Lost 60 Pounds!
Sorry folks. If you’re peddling weight loss products, you can’t show before and after pics, or anything else that implies a negative self-perception in order to promote the product. Furthermore, unsubstantiated claims, like promising that someone will lose an exact amount in a set timeframe or make $1,000 in a week is a total no-no.

That’s Not Yours
Content that infringes upon trademark, privacy, publicity or proprietary rights of any third party are clearly prohibited as well.

A special note for lead generation ads: due to Facebook’s privacy policy, advertisers must not create lead generation forms that request the following types of information:

  • Account numbers
  • Criminal and arrest history
  • Financial information
  • Government-issued identifiers
  • Trade union membership
  • Username or passwords
  • Health information
  • Insurance information
  • Political affiliation
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

We hope this content is useful to you. Bookmark it so you can visit again. And if you missed Part 1 in our series, visit it here. Want even more details about Facebook’s restricted and prohibited policies? Visit their Ads Policy page.

Restricted and Prohibited: Facebook Ad Rules to Live by, Part 2 of 2

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