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What You Need to Know About Facebook’s Political Ad Regulations

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Restrictions of political ads are nothing new, with Twitter outright banning them in 2019. With that being said, despite the fact that Facebook itself has not outright banned political ads from its platform, there are some changes in recent years you should be made aware of.

It should be noted that while allowed in most of the United States, such advertisements are prohibited from running in or targeting the state of Washington if they pertain to Washington's state or municipal elected officials, candidates, elections, or ballot initiatives. In addition, advertisements pertaining to Seattle legislation are prohibited in the state of Washington.

Advertisers outside of that area that wish to develop or amend advertising regarding social problems, elections, or politics in the United States will be required to get authorization and include "Paid for by" disclaimers. This includes anybody who creates, modifies, publishes, or pauses political advertisements, including "get out the vote" efforts. The commercials will then be archived for seven years in the Ad Library.

If you run ads about social issues, elections, or politics without authorization, provide false or misleading information during the authorization process, or violate Facebook's Advertising Policies, Community Standards, or other Meta policies and terms, your profile and ad accounts may be restricted.

These limits may include the items listed below.

  • Disabling Existing Adverts

  • Limiting the Capacity to Combine Pages

  • Limiting the Capacity to Run Fresh Advertisements

  • Revocation of Advertising Authorization Related to Social Causes, Elections, or Politics

  • Unpublishing Relevant Pages

What Counts as a Political Ad

The phrase is more elastic than one may anticipate. Political advertising is those produced by, on behalf of, or about a current or previous candidate for public office, a political party, a political action committee, or an advocate for the outcome of an election to public office, including "get out the vote" and election information campaigns. This includes any advertisement that refers to a national legislative topic of public interest, regardless of where the advertisement is running.

Whether or whether you intended to run "political advertising," Facebook may assume that you are. The phrase "national legislative concerns of public interest" is intentionally imprecise.

Additionally Facebook currently includes the following legislative issues in a list of what they deemed to be political topics but this list may be expanded in the future

  • Abortion

  • Civil Rights

  • Crime

  • Economy

  • Education

  • Energy

  • Environment

  • Foreign Policy

  • Guns

  • Health

  • Immigration

  • Military

  • Social Security

  • Taxes

  • Terrorism

  • Values

That is a lot of issues. The wide definition of some of these problems may cause your work to be highlighted, regardless of how political you consider it to be. This is the essence of Facebook’s pre-authorization advice; even advertisements that you would not consider "political" might be highlighted. If they are marked, you cannot share them without consent or an appeal.

How Does This Affect Ad Targeting

Beginning on January 19, 2022, Facebook eliminated comprehensive targeting choices related to sensitive themes, such as causes, organizations, and public figures relating to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, and sexual orientation, in order to prevent the abuse of underrepresented groups and minorities.

Examples are shown below.