Revealbot Blog Blog Categories

Facebook ad policies in 2023: What you can (and can’t) advertise on Facebook

Facebook ad policies in 2023: What you can (and can’t) advertise on Facebook

In this blog, we'll dive deep into Facebook ad policies, revealing what you can - and can't - advertise on the platform. From the latest updates to the intricacies of compliance, we've got you covered.

11 min read
Jun 3, 2022

Struggling to navigate Facebook ad policies? There’s constant confusion around what and how to advertise on Facebook. Here’s what you should know about Facebook ad policies so you can make ads that won’t get blocked.

Any social platform is an essential advertising tool. And, like any tool, it has its performance standards and safety regulations. What is allowed on Google will never pass on Facebook.

As the digital landscape evolves, so do the Facebook ad policies. So, whether you're a seasoned marketer or just dipping your toes into the world of social media advertising, understanding these policies is crucial.

In this blog, we'll dive deep into Facebook ad policies for 2023, revealing what you can - and can't - advertise on the platform. From the latest updates to the intricacies of compliance, we've got you covered.

Facebook advertising policy principles explained

Facebook advertising policy principles are based on the following key points:

1. Protecting People from Unsafe and Discriminatory Practices: Advertisers must follow the local laws in their area, avoid discriminatory practices, and not promote illegal or harmful substances.

2. Protecting People from Fraud or Scams: Ads that use deceptive or misleading tactics, including those aimed at defrauding people or asking for personal information, are strictly prohibited.

3. Promoting Positive User Experiences: Ads should make the Facebook experience better, not worse. This means violent, shocking, dirty, or mean content is not allowed.

4. Promoting Transparency: Facebook wants you to know what ads you're seeing. They keep a library of all the ads and show who paid for them. This way, advertisers are responsible for what they show. The Ad Library offers insights into all current ads, especially those related to social issues, elections, or politics.

These principles guide Facebook's advertising policies, ensuring a safe, honest, and transparent advertising environment for its users.

Work smarter with Facebook ads automation
Automate your Facebook ad management to boost ROAS and save time with Revealbot.
✓ 14-day free trial ✓ No credit card required ✓ Cancel anytime

What are Facebook ad policies?

Facebook ads policies, also known as Facebook advertising standards, are a set of advertising policies and guidelines that advertisers must adhere to when running ads on Facebook. These policies are designed to ensure a safe and positive experience for users and to maintain the integrity of the Facebook advertising ecosystem. Facebook ads policies include:

  • Community Standards
  • Unacceptable content
  • Deceptive content
  • Dangerous content
  • Objectionable content
  • Content specific restrictions
  • Intellectual property infringement
  • Social issues, electoral, or political advertising
  • Product and format specific policies
List of some of the practices forbidden when advertising on Facebook
Some of the practices forbidden when advertising on Facebook

The latest Facebook advertising policies in 2023

Facebook advertising policies can change over time. As of September 2023, there are the key aspects of the latest Facebook advertising policies in 2023.

Let’s dive in!

Facebook Community Standards

Ads must follow Facebook's Community Standards and Instagram's Community Guidelines. These guidelines set the minimum requirements for ad content.

According to Facebook community guidelines, ads cannot:

  • Break the Community Standards.
  • Include content that's considered disturbing or sensitive according to the Community Standards.
  • Violate Instagram Community Guidelines when running on Instagram.
List of practices restricted by Facebook
List of practices restricted by Facebook

Unacceptable Content

Ads cannot contain illegal or highly objectionable content. This includes:

  • Illegal Products and Services: Ads cannot promote anything illegal.
  • Misinformation: Ads cannot spread false information that has been debunked by fact checkers.
  • Vaccine Discouragement: Ads must not discourage vaccination.
  • Discriminatory Practices: Ads must not promote discrimination based on personal attributes like race, religion, or disability. Advertisers can't target or exclude specific groups wrongly.
  • Inflammatory Content: Ads can't claim that a person or group poses a physical threat based on personal attributes. They can't promote contempt or disgust against groups.
  • Militarized Movements: Ads can't praise or support individuals or groups marked as dangerous by Meta.
Turn your best performing posts into ads
Automatically boost organic posts into Facebook & Instagram ads based on performance.
✓ 14-day free trial ✓ No credit card required ✓ Cancel anytime

Deceptive Content

Ads must not use deceptive or misleading tactics. These rules ensure that ads are honest and don't mislead people. This includes:

  • Unacceptable Business Practices: Ads cannot promote scams or schemes meant to deceive people.
  • Cheating and Deceit: Ads cannot promote products or services that help people cheat or engage in deceitful practices.
  • Unrealistic Outcomes: Ads can't promise unrealistic results, especially for health, weight loss, or moneymaking opportunities.
  • Circumventing Systems: Ads cannot try to trick the ad review process by disguising their content.
  • Prohibited Financial Products: Ads can't promote financial products known for misleading practices.
  • Spyware or Malware: Ads cannot contain spyware, malware, or any deceptive software.
  • NonExistent Functionality: Ads can't use fake features or buttons that don't work.

Dangerous Content

Ads must not promote substances, products, or activities that can harm people's health and safety. These rules protect people from potentially harmful content and products. This includes:

  • Unsafe Substances: Ads cannot promote illegal or dangerous drugs, supplements, or substances.
  • Weapons and Explosives: Ads cannot promote weapons, ammunition, explosives, or accessories for modifying weapons.
  • Tobacco and Related Products: Ads cannot promote tobacco, nicotine products, or devices that simulate smoking.

Exception: Ads promoting approved cessation products, following local laws and guidelines.

Objectionable Content

Ads must not contain content that can lead to negative experiences. These rules aim to create a positive and respectful advertising environment. This includes:

  • Adult Content: Ads cannot contain nudity, explicit or suggestive content, or activities that are sexually provocative. They should not position themselves in a sexual way.

The exception here is nude figures in paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art, as long as there's no focus on private parts or sexual acts.

Confused? Here's an example:

objectionable adult content policy when running Facebook ads
Source: Facebook
  • Grammar and Profanity: Ads must have proper grammar, punctuation, and avoid profanity.
  • LowQuality or Disruptive Content: Ads cannot lead to unexpected or disruptive external pages. Misleading headlines or prompts for fake interaction are not allowed.
  • Personal Attributes: Ads cannot imply personal attributes like race, religion, beliefs, age, gender, etc.
  • Sensational Content: Ads cannot have shocking or excessively violent content.
  • Exploiting Crises: Ads cannot use crises or controversial events for commercial purposes.
  • Personal Health and Appearance: Ads should not promote negative self-perception to sell health or weight loss products.
  • Sale of Body Parts: Ads cannot promote the sale of human body parts or fluids. Not sure how often this comes up, but there you have it: you can’t advertise selling body parts on Facebook. Nothing about natural hair, though.

Content Specific Restrictions

Certain types of businesses or products have specific content rules. These rules ensure that content associated with specific businesses or products is handled appropriately and legally. These include:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol ads must follow local laws and age restrictions.
  • Adult Products or Services: Ads for adult products or services are not allowed.
  • Dating: Dating service ads require prior permission and must follow dating ad guidelines.
  • Cosmetic Procedures and Wellness: Ads for weight loss, cosmetic surgeries, and supplements must target adults.
  • Online Pharmacies: Online pharmacy ads need prior permission and certification.
  • OvertheCounter Medicine: Ads for overthecounter medicine must follow local laws and age restrictions.
  • Prescription Medicine: Ads for prescription drugs need prior permission and can only target specific regions.
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment: Addiction treatment ads targeting the United States need certification.
  • Financial and Insurance Products and Services: These ads must target adults and follow legal requirements.
  • Cryptocurrency Products and Services: Promoting cryptocurrency products and services needs prior permission.
  • Online Gambling and Gaming: Prior permission is required for these ads, and they must follow laws and target adults.
  • Social Casino Games: Ads for these games must target people 18 or older.
  • Subscription Services: Ads for subscription services must disclose pricing and billing information.
  • CBD and Related Products: Promoting CBD products requires prior permission and certification in some cases. There are also regional restrictions.

Intellectual Property Infringement

Ads must not violate the intellectual property rights of third parties or Meta. These rules protect intellectual property rights and prevent misuse of Meta's brands. This includes:

  • ThirdParty Infringement: Ads cannot infringe on copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights of third parties. This includes selling counterfeit goods that copy another company's products.
  • Brand Endorsement: Ads cannot imply an endorsement or partnership with Meta's brands or any other Meta technology.
  • Brand Usage in Ads: Ads linking to Facebook or Instagram can mention these brands for clarification but should not make them the most prominent feature. Meta's brand assets cannot be modified.
  • Copyrights and Trademarks: Ads and landing pages cannot use Meta's copyrights, trademarks, or similar marks without permission.
  • User Interface Screenshots: If an ad features Meta's user interface, it must accurately depict its current appearance and functionality. The UI cannot be modified or used separately.

Social Issue, Electoral, or Political Advertising

Advertisers can run ads related to social issues, elections, or politics, but they must follow all relevant laws and Meta's authorization process.

  • Meta may restrict these ads, and certain election related content may be prohibited or removed in specific regions before voting.
  • Advertisers should ensure compliance with legal requirements and Meta's guidelines for such ads.

Product and Format-Specific Policies

Different types of ads have specific requirements. These policies ensure that ads meet specific requirements for different formats and maintain relevance and transparency. These include:

  • Non-Functional Landing Page: Ads must not direct people to nonfunctional landing pages that interfere with navigation.
  • Video Ads: Video ads and dynamic ad types must follow all the rules, including not using overly disruptive tactics. Certain content in ads for film trailers, TV shows, and video game trailers may require prior permission and should target adults. Excessive depictions of drugs and alcohol use, adult content, profanity, and violence within these ads are not allowed.
  • Lead Ads: Advertisers need permission for lead ads questions that request specific types of information.
  • Targeting: Advertisers must not use targeting to discriminate, harass, or engage in predatory practices.
  • Relevance: Ads must accurately represent the company, product, or service being advertised, and all ad components must be relevant. The content on the landing page should match the ad.
  • Branded Content: Ads promoting branded content must use the branded content tool to tag the featured third party product, brand, or business partner. Branded content involves content influenced by a business partner for value exchange.

The ad review process

The Facebook ads review process is like a computerized checker that looks at the many ads on Facebook to make sure they follow the rules for advertising.

But, Facebook doesn't just rely on computers. They also have people who help the computer system get better. Sometimes, these people even check some ads by hand.

Facebook ad review process
Facebook ad review process

When Facebook decides if they need to check an ad more closely, they think about how well the advertiser has followed the rules in the past.

The review process usually checks different parts of an ad, like:

  1. Images
  2. Videos
  3. Ad copy
  4. Targeting: Who the ad is meant for
  5. Landing page: Where the ad takes you when you click on it

Facebook ad rejected, now what?

Facebook uses computer checks and sometimes humans to make sure ads follow the rules. They watch how advertisers behave and can block accounts if they break the rules. But not all rulebreaking ads get caught. Ads are always checked and can be rejected if they break the rules. Advertisers must follow Facebook's rules, local laws, and other guidelines.

If an ad is rejected, advertisers can fix it and ask for a second check.

People can report ads they think break the rules. They can also see why they see certain ads and control what ads they get in their feed using the ad preferences tool.

Facebook account restricted from advertising?

In addition to rejecting ads that violate policies, Facebook reviews and takes action on advertiser accounts and their assets for various policy violations.

This can include restrictions on advertising ability. Actions are taken for violations such as:

  • Violating Content: Not following advertising policies.
  • Evading Enforcement: Trying to bypass review and enforcement.
  • Account Authenticity: Using fake or inauthentic accounts or assets to run ads.
  • Violating Networks or Associations: Being connected to abusive or banned business assets.

Advertisers facing these issues can request a review if they believe the restriction was incorrect.

Reviews and disputes

We are sometimes asked whether you can avoid being banned by using Revealbot or any other automation tool. No, you can’t: ads that are not compliant with the Facebook policy can’t be posted through any other program or extension suddenly making them okay.

There are some rumors that Facebook is more lenient towards advertisers with the huge spend, but there’s no solid proof to support these theories. Sometimes Facebook algorithms block ads that have nothing outrageous about them. Like that story about onions being too sexy.

Facebook banned a Canadian seed company’s ad featuring onions — labeling it “overtly sexual” in an algorithm mess-up
Facebook banned a Canadian seed company’s ad featuring onions — labeling it “overtly sexual” in an algorithm mess-up

Here’s what Facebook has to say about this:

“We reserve the right to reject, approve or remove any ad for any reason, in our sole discretion, including ads that negatively affect our relationship with our users or that promote content, services, or activities, contrary to our competitive position, interests, or advertising philosophy.”

If that’s your case and your ad got rejected for an unknown reason, there is a review dispute procedure you can follow:

  1. Go to Account Quality
  2. Select your account or catalog with the rejected ads
  3. Select the ad, ad sets, or campaigns you want to dispute
  4. Click Request Review and select Submit

If things went far and your ad account got restricted or blocked for reasons unclear to you, the procedure is as follows:

  1. Go to Account Quality
  2. Go to Account Status Overview
  3. Choose the restricted account
  4. Look for a What You Can Do section

Facebook also suggests ways you can improve your ad accounts when it comes to eCommerce and a few tips to make your ads better in general.

Revealbot review

There is a way of making a Facebook advertiser’s life less stressful. When using Revealbot for your ad posting you are minimizing the chances of your ad being rejected. Revealbot being an official Facebook partner is making us partially responsible for any violation of ad policies.

This is why there is a review procedure we follow:

your account is checked by our AI and manually. It might take up to a few hours, but usually, the procedure runs much faster. If you think it’s been “In review” for too long, feel free to contact us.  

Improve ad performance in 3 minutes!
Connect your ad accounts, automate ads management, and watch your ROAS skyrocket 🚀
✓ 14-day free trial ✓ No credit card required ✓ Cancel anytime

Key takeaways

As with any other area of your work, you can either use your best judgment while advertising, or trust other professionals to use theirs. In general, think about what will happen if someone you care about will see this ad you’re posting. If your ad is cringy, provocative, or just meh, try to work on your creatives a bit more and present your best.

Key takeaways
  • Facebook's ad policies are essential to understand for effective advertising on the platform.
  • Facebook's advertising policy principles include protecting people from unsafe practices, preventing fraud, promoting positive user experiences, and ensuring transparency.
  • The policies cover a wide range of topics, from community standards to intellectual property infringement.
  • Practices forbidden on Facebook include promoting illegal products, spreading misinformation, and encouraging discrimination.
  • Deceptive content is not allowed, and ads cannot use misleading tactics or promise unrealistic outcomes.
  • Dangerous content, including drugs, weapons, and tobacco, is strictly prohibited.
  • Objectionable content, like adult material and sensational content, is also restricted.
  • Specific businesses and products have unique content rules, such as alcohol, dating services, and gambling.
  • Intellectual property infringement, endorsement of Meta's brands, and brand usage in ads are prohibited.
  • Social issue, electoral, or political advertising must adhere to relevant laws and Meta's guidelines.
  • Different ad formats have specific requirements, including landing page functionality, video content, and targeting.
  • The ad review process involves both automated checks and human review to ensure compliance.
  • Accounts and assets can be restricted or banned for policy violations, and advertisers can request reviews and dispute decisions.
  • Using automation tools like Revealbot can reduce the chances of ad rejection, but Facebook's discretion still applies.
  • Advertisers should exercise good judgment and strive for high-quality, respectful advertising to succeed on Facebook.
About the author
Ksenia Sverku
Ksenia Sverku
Editor, Revealbot
Amal Moursi
Amal Moursi
Istanbul, Turkey
Let’s stay in touch

Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox

Related articles
Spend less time on manual ad management while transforming wasted ad spend into growth 💰