Have your ads not been getting approved lately on Facebook? Are you running the same ads you used to, which were previously approved but are now getting flagged? This might be because Meta specifically restricts advertising related to social issues and politics, and the algorithm regulates this more strictly before election times.

The goal of this regulation is to minimize information created to obfuscate issues mimicking the notion of “yellow journalism” from years past, a style of news writing which emphasized sensationalism over facts. In other words, Meta is attempting to minimize “fake news”.

What constitutes ads about social issues, elections, or politics?

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Meta defines these ads as:

  • “Made by, on behalf of, or about a candidate for public office, a political figure, a political party, a political action committee or advocates for the outcome of an election to public office; or
  • About any election, referendum, or ballot initiative, including “go out and vote” or election campaigns; or
  • About social issues in any place where the ad is being placed; or
  • Regulated as political advertising.”

Social issues are sensitive topics that are heavily debated and can influence the outcome of an election. Meta has created guidelines specifying these topics for many different countries, so make sure to check their policy to understand what applies to you in your country. They also highlight that these policies can change over time.

Here is the current list of topics in the United States:

  • civil and social rights
  • crime
  • economy
  • education
  • environmental politics
  • guns
  • health
  • immigration
  • political values and governance
  • security and foreign policy

If your business involves health-related products or services or if you are an educational non-profit, Facebook’s social issues policy could lead to a more stringent review of your advertising content.

So, what can you do to move your advertisements through the Meta approval process?

Meta Approval Process

Advertisers who want to create ads related to political or social issues must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • They must go through an authorization process to confirm their identity
    • You will need to submit your identification for review.
    • Documentation must be for the advertiser’s local country and not expired.
    • You should have 2-factor authentication turned on.
  • Your ad must be listed as Special Ads Category (Social Issues)
  • You may need to have a disclaimer stating who paid for the ads. Meta provides extensive details on which ads require a disclaimer which you can reference here.

If your ad does get flagged for review, you should submit an appeal to Meta, and allow up to 72 hours for the Facebook ads team to get back to you.

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Being aware of Facebook’s guidelines is crucial when running ads, especially during election season in your country. You should also plan for this process to take some time, first to make sure you have proper authorization, and an additional 72 hours after you submit your ad in case it gets flagged and requires an appeal. If you create an ad for a discount that is ending soon, make sure there is enough time to go through this whole process before the ad becomes obsolete.