Before you dismiss this post because you aren’t currently placing ads for a political candidate, note that Facebook has indicated these changes include “election information campaigns” and general GOTV.
It used to be that pretty much all you needed to place an ad on Facebook was to have an account [yours, a duplicate, a friends, your dog’s, didn’t matter] and a credit card to pay with. Not. Any. More. Well, after May 22, 2018 that is.
After significant public backlash, Facebook is changing how it does businesses, and changing the rules for how to place political ads online. Regardless of your thoughts on ethics, privacy, political advertising, mirco/hyper targeting tactics, or otherwise, if you want to be able to place political, or politcal-adjacent, ads on Facebook, you’ll need to comply with their new rules and regs. Aforementioned topics withstanding, the purpose of this post is to walk you through the steps you need to take to make sure your ad account doesn’t get frozen by the gods of Facebook.
Although they have been placing mea culpa commercials talking about getting back to the warm fuzzy original intent of the platform, Facebook is NOT making a huge public deal about the changes that they are requiring their advertisers go through. (My guess is that it will be enforcing this a bit randomly after May 22, to gradually get everyone to comply, shutting accounts down in the process, as opposed to the huge lift of getting everyone up to speed beforehand. That would be way too proactive of them.) You probably got an email or two from their HQ outlining the changes, but given the flood of privacy updates, and “we are committed to your security” emails going out from every platform currently, there’s a chance you could have missed it, or didn’t notice the important part that indicated not only are the policies changing, but YOU NEED TO TAKE PHYSICAL STEPS TO COMPLY. Let me repeat, this is more than you clicking a box that says “agree”. Facebook is making you DO. STUFF.
Here’s what Facebook says: “We’re asking people who want to run political ads in the US to confirm their identity. This is part of our efforts to make political ads more transparent. The information you provide will only be used to confirm your identity, and will not be stored or saved once the process is completed. You only need to confirm your identity once.”
Here’s what that means: You need to…
1. Upload a picture of your photo ID
2. Enter your mailing address
3. Wait a week or two and then get a letter from Facebook
4. Enter the code contained in that letter onto a special “confirm your identity” Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/id
5. Do all of this by May 22, 2018
I just completed all of these steps myself.
Some other important notes:
1. Each individual account that has access to an ad account needs to go through these steps in order for them to personally place ads.
2. A minimum of one admin for every PAGE needs to go through the process in order to prevent the page from being flagged.
3. All “political ads” will go into an archive as well and will be searchable regardless of how they were targeted in the interest of transparency.
4. These new rules ARE NOT LIMITED TO POLITICAL CANDIDATE ADS. GOTV and election information campaigns are included! This means that all those 501 c3 non-profits out there doing voter eduction need to know this info.
5. Facebook is stating that they will be more stringent about the use of political disclaimers where needed, as well, so the ad creation process itself will warrent an audit to be sure everything is in compliance.
TBD how all of the changes will be enforced.
You can read more from Facebook directly here – https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/restricted_content/political
And here – https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1838453822893854
Hope this information is helpful! Spread the word to others who may not be aware!