Facebook has made a significant update to its terms on posting sponsored or “branded” content on its platform. The update — a response to FTC and consumer transparency concerns —takes effect immediately and is big news for marketers, agencies and influencers. Here’s a summary of a few key things you need to know.
Facebook defines “Branded Content” as content posted on Facebook “that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value.” In plain English, that means content published in exchange for money or anything else of value. This definition includes influencer or celebrity posts made on behalf of a brand.
The new rules limit who can post Branded Content. In the past, anyone could post Branded Content. Under the new rules,, only marketers or influencers with Facebook Pages or with profiles that have access to Facebook’s Branded Content Tool (i.e. the “handshake button”) are permitted to post Branded Content on Facebook. (You can access the Branded Content Tool here: Branded Content Tool.)
Facebook also now requires publishers of Branded Content to tag the featured third party product, brand or business partner, and the publisher of Branded Content must have prior permission from the brand or business partner to include such necessary tags. Tip: to avoid having to draft separate permissions for each post, publishers should consider including permissions in their agreements with spokespersons paid to post on Facebook.
When content is posted using the Branded Content Tool, Facebook will automatically include a “Paid” slug within the post, underneath the “with” tag that identifies the business partner. This new slug can help users recognize Branded Content posts. Even though the helps as a disclosure of payment, Facebook still requires creators and publishers to comply with any advertising laws, including providing any necessary disclosures that indicate the commercial nature of the content that they post.
According to Facebook, published posts that violate their new Branded Content policy will now be hidden from News Feeds until resolved, thereby incentivizing all parties to get it right the first time.