Facebook updates branded content policy, clarifies which posts will pass

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On Thursday, January 25, Facebook updated its branded content policy for Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts. The move curbs content creators and publishers from receiving payment on posts they did not create or work on.

On April 2016, Facebook released an updated list to curtail branded content. It offered a new tool for publishers and influencers to tag marketers when they publish branded content on Facebook apps and services.

Since then, the number of posts with this content swelled. Facebook said the number of publishers and creators posting branded content grew four times last year.

Branded Content

In theory, what follows is true for branded content. A brand paid a creator or publisher to create or promote an article, image or video and distribute it to their followers.

In practice, a brand may have only paid a creator or publisher to distribute content to their audience. Content in this context may simply be a link to an ecommerce site. It has gone from promoted content to an ad.

Facebook defines branded content this way:

We define branded content as any post — including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos — that features a third party [sic] product, brand, or sponsor. It is typically posted by media companies, celebrities, or other influencers.

facebook updates branded content policy, clarifies which posts will pass

A sample post on the branded content policy. (Image from Facebook Media blog)

Facebook Takes Action

To stop the abuse of branded content’s loose definition, Facebook has updated its policy on what qualifies as branded content on its Pages and Instagram accounts.

They are barring creators and publishers from earning from branded content they did not create.

Their list now includes the line: “Don’t accept anything of value to post content that you did not create or were not involved in the creation of, or that does not feature you.”

Creators and publishers have a grace period to adjust. Facebook said the change will start in March. Then, they will limit the reach of branded content that violates the policy on Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts.

Facebook will restrict or revoke a violator’s access to the company’s monetization tools. It includes the labeling tool to tag branded content and enable a brand to monitor performance, and run the content as an ad.

How to Identify Violators

Facebook has developed a system to detect violators of its updated branded content policy. It uses signals to find the business relationship between Pages.

For example, a Facebook spokesperson said the system can recognize when a creator posts a link to an independent publisher’s article that features a brand but not the creator. This violates Facebook’s policy.

A link to an independent publisher’s article that features the brand and the creator will pass if the publisher quoted the creator in the article.

Facebook said that they will notify violators so they can appeal the decision.


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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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