Social networks are once again modifying their ad policies, with the most recent move by Facebook and Instagram being a ban on gun and vaping promotions.
Online advertisement policies have been seeing a lot of changes lately, and it appears that some of the social network platforms are still not satisfied with them. This has led to new moves by Facebook and Instagram, which have already introduced bans for e-cigarettes and guns.
For the first time, Facebook and Instagram are putting restrictions around the types of items that brands can promote using “branded content.” https://t.co/0abwO1i5H4
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) December 19, 2019
However, there was still one loophole left, and it was not long before the merchants managed to find it. As many seem to have already realized, influencers were still able to promote products related to guns and vaping online. Their paid promotions were not viewed as advertising on the platform, but rather on the influencers’ own channels.
Now, however, Facebook and Instagram decided to close this loophole down by announcing a ban on ‘branded content.’ Things like tobacco, weapons, and vaping are no longer welcome on either of the two platforms. Not only that, but they are also moving against products such as dietary supplements and alcohol, introducing special restrictions against them.
The new rules are not taking effect immediately, but they will be enforced in weeks to come, according to Facebook’s recent announcement. Furthermore, the company is creating tools that would help content creators with honoring the new policy. One example is introducing minimum age requirements for their content, which is something that received a lot of attention recently, especially on platforms such as YouTube.
While this is hardly the first time that Facebook is introducing changes to its ad policy, it is the first time that Instagram is introducing any such limitations for its own influencers. Many believe that something like this should have been introduced a long time ago, however.
Both platforms were recently criticized for allowing their influencers to promote products that might be considered harmful. Especially if their audience consisted of underage users.
In a lot of cases, even the influencers themselves do not use, or even understand the products that they are offering. Posts that promote such content were already banned in countries such as the UK, and it is now up to the companies to enforce these bans worldwide. If they fail to do so, they will likely keep attracting negative publicity, while the regulators would continue to pressure them.