Facebook said that will be allowing political candidates in the US to run sponsored content on its social media platforms so long such campaigns follow its disclosure guidelines. However, the social media giant also cleared that such branded content won't be catalogued in its advertising library.
Facebook has come under severe criticism and considerable fire from US regulators over the past several months for its political ad policy, which gives politicians the liberty to post anything they want with no regard to truth. That said, Facebook has also been trying to make some changes to its political ad policy lately.
Facebook will now allow political candidates and campaigns to pay creators for sponsored and branded content on Instagram and Facebook as long as such posts follow the company's disclosure guidelines. Political candidates will now be allowed to use Facebook's branded ad tools, which will allow them to tag more clearly that the content is sponsored.
The change in Facebook's ad policy comes after US democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg's campaign had contracted a group of meme makers to post advertisements for his candidacy. Following the appearance of the posts, a number of campaign representatives contacted Facebook to know in details about the company's stance in handling political ads and how political candidates could works more closely with influencers to reach out to more people.
"After hearing from multiple campaigns, we agree that there's a place for branded content in political discussion on our platforms," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. The memers involved in Bloomberg's promotion updated their posts on Instagram and added an official disclosure: "Paid partnership with mikebloomberg."
How does it work?
The concept of paying social media influencers as part of political campaigns, wherein these people make content and spread political messages is fast gaining prominence ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. Branded content is also referred as "sponsored content" is directly negotiated between a brand or political campaign and the influencer. Facebook doesn't make any money out of it and also doesn't review the content.
Political campaigns or groups who now want to use Facebook need to adhere by certain rules. They can use Facebook's branded content tool but need to be authorized as political advertisers. This authorization has to be done through Facebook's ID verification process. Although Facebook won't be making any money, the political campaigns need to adhere by the company's disclosure policy that it's paid content.