This is the third and final chapter of our dive into Facebook’s restricted topics advertising. So far, we’ve covered what Facebook’s Politician, Election, and Social Issue Advertising Policy is and how to complete Facebook’s authorization process. Once you identify an ad as falling under this policy, a few things will happen. Manly, the ad will look a little different from non-policy ads in Facebook and Instagram. In the image below, we call out these differences in yellow:

Now, let’s compare that ad to one that does not reference social issues, elections, or politics. Can you see the distinct differences in appearance?

Non-policy ads do not need to 1.) identify who is paying for their ads, 2.) have the extra “non affiliated with Facebook” copy, or 3.) have the information icon on top of their creative. **Note that advertising information including why a user is seeing a particular ad is still visual in the drop down of the see more icon (…) in the top right corner.

What actually topics count as Political, Social Issues, or Election Facebook Ads?

The answer depends on the country you are advertising in. Facebook is a global company and intends for this policy to fit each particular cultural and political climate where an ad will be served. As a result, there are different requirements for different countries. Below we list just a few.

For the United States, which has the largest list so far, affected topics (as of today) include, but are not limited to:

  • Abortion
  • Civil rights
  • Crime
  • Energy
  • Guns
  • Health
  • Social security
  • Terrorism
  • Values

In the European Union, the affected topics (as of today) include, but are not limited to:

  • Immigration
  • Political values
  • Security and foreign policy
  • Environmental politics

Your best bet is to bookmark this Facebook Help Center page to keep track of the latest updates. The actual list and how Facebook decides to interpret each category will continue to evolve. It’s best to think about how your content may or may not fall into these categories. As we discussed in our last post, the authorization process takes some time. Better to be prepared than to not be able to run an ad when you want to.

Some last minute notes about running Social Issues-, Politics-, or Election-based Ads on the Facebook Network

  1. Currently, these ad authorizations can only be set up from a computer. So, if you are using Facebook’s Mobile Ads Manager App, you will need to sign back in to a computer to mark your ads.
  2. These types of ads are not currently allowed to run on the WhatsApp, Messenger and Audience Network placements. Even if you select these placements in your targeting, they will not show.
  3. Facebook’s machine learning is ever-evolving. If the machine or human reviewers determine that an ad’s content is related to social issues, politics, or elections, they will disapprove your ad. If you are already approved to run these types of ads, it is usually a simple matter of going in and clicking the declaration button at the ad level. If you are not, you will need to edit the ad to try and pass the test.
  4. Even ads that were previously approved may be disapproved by this policy in future campaign reviews.
  5. Any ads about social issues, elections or politics that target the U.S. will be eligible to be added to the Ad Library, even if the advertiser who created them doesn’t reside in the U.S., and/or hasn’t completed the ad authorization process. The Ad Library includes all active ads that are currently running, ads that have stopped running, ads that an advertiser deleted and ads that were active before being disapproved due to policy violations. For those of you looking to do a little research, the Ads Library can be a great place to find out what competitors are doing.

In Summary

The digital marketing world is always changing, and the Facebook platform is no different. As new technology develops, there will always be people who find a way to use it for good and others for bad. New Facebook policies like this content disclaimer will ultimately help the general public understand how and by whom messages are being paid for and delivered. Advertisers in the platform who present themselves honestly and think of marketing with a user-first mindset will continue to excel.

Having a great partner can make all the difference. Let Charles River Interactive help you with your digital marketing strategy. Reach out to us at to start a conversation.