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Facebook will shut off ads for publishers that violate standards

Facebook is adding new standards for publishers that are eligible to run ads with their content – they have to be real people, for example, and may be banned for posting false or sensational news. (Associated Press)
Facebook is adding new standards for publishers that are eligible to run ads with their content – they have to be real people, for example, and may be banned for posting false or sensational news. (Associated Press)

Facebook is adding new standards for publishers that are eligible to run ads with their content – they have to be real people, for example, and may be banned for posting false or sensational news.

The guidelines, which Facebook announced in a blog post Wednesday, had become essential as the company starts to tie ads with content directly, putting promotions in a video stream or an article.

Advertisers fear being paired with content that wouldn’t reflect well on their brands, and have even gone so far as to halt spending after showing up next to offensive content on Google’s YouTube earlier this year. Facebook wants to avoid that so-called “brand safety” problem.

Facebook has also been dealing with the spread of misinformation on its platform, reporting last week that fake accounts, likely linked to Russia, spent $100,000 in ads ahead of the U.S. election. The new guidelines, which apply to publishers that want to run ads with their content, require an “authentic, established presence on Facebook – they are who they represent themselves to be, and have had a profile or page on Facebook for at least one month,” the company said.

In order to put ad breaks in their videos, those publishers may need to have a follower base Facebook finds “sufficient,” and the company said that requirement could be applied to other ad features.

Publishers that “share clickbait or sensationalism, or post misinformation and false news may be ineligible or may lose their eligibility to monetize,” Facebook said.

Facebook already has rules for the content from media publishers on its site, which are much stricter than what’s allowed for the general community. For example, content can’t show too much drinking or drug use, excessively use derogatory language, show real-world tragedy or put children in compromising situations even for humorous effect.

The company will now be an arbiter of what information is safe enough for its advertisers — a role that will have the social network determining what’s true or false, sensational or reasonable, with the help of a network of third-party fact checkers.