Facebook adheres to strict guidelines when it comes to ads related to political or National Importance. The advertisers running such ads are required to complete the ad authorization process. The basic guidelines for running ads related to political importance vary from country to country. Advertisers in India will be required to complete the ad authorization process before running ads related to issues of national importance. This has been laid down in February 2019. The advertiser is expected to comply with all the laid down rules and regulations. Facebook has initiated this authentication procedure so that the candidates, political parties, and other organizations offer people only validated and reliable information about who is behind the ads they are seeing.
What are the ads with political content? Definition of ads related to politics or national importance?
- An ad that represents or is formulated by a public office candidate, political party, political action committee or advocates, either on role or former, is considered a Political ad.
- The ad runs in a place where there persists a national issue of public importance.
- An ad relates to any referendum, election, or ballot initiative, it is inclusive of election information campaign.
The content of the ad that is considered political comes with a disclaimer that reads “paid for by…”. The disclaimer comes with a link to the ad’s entry in the database. This helps users understand the ad budget, assess the number of people who viewed the ad, and basic demographics like age, gender, and geography. The ad viewers can also see other ads from the advertiser.
What are the guidelines for running a political ad on Facebook?
- The authorization process is available for those who reside in India and plan to target the Indian audience with ads of political importance or national issues.
- An Indian Passport, driver’s license, Permanent Account Number, or voter ID card are some other accepted government authorized identity cards that are documents required to set up ad authorization.
- Not all publishers have authorization rights. The new publishers are exempted from this policy. The following list is where you will find the exempt new publishers along with the sourced date:
– Ministry of Information and Broadcasting: 15 January 2019
– Audit Bureau of Circulation: 14 November 2018
– Comscore: 17 November 2018
- Once authorized, you have the provision to run political ads, issues of national importance on different social media platforms, namely Facebook and Instagram, using any ad format, except dynamic ads. Currently, these ads are not compatible with platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Audience Network Placements.
- There is no set specific list of national issues of public importance in India. It is for the advertiser to judge and assess as to which is the one that qualifies as a political ad. The topics discussed or debated at the National level that holds the power to influence the voters and hence affect the result of the election and relate to existing legislation.
- Advertisers with full authorization have the facility to state a disclaimer that identifies their ad as related to politics or national importance. These ads find their place to the Ad Library. Any ad of political importance or related to the national issue would be eligible to find its place in the Ad Archive, even if the creator of the ad doesn’t reside in India. If an ad running without “Published by” or “Paid For by” disclaimer, is reported and is reviewed to be ad related to politics, then it will be disapproved and added to the Ad Library.
As the Lok Sabha Elections are soon approaching in India, political campaigns are on the rise all over the social media, especially through Facebook ads. There are obvious concerns surrounding the elections. Hence these changes are being implemented to increase transparency of the process and maintain the integrity of elections.