Meta announces new rules for social issues ads for Facebook and Instagram in India

Meta announces new rules for social issues ads on Facebook and Instagram for advertisers in India. The new app will require anyone serving ads on social issues to be allowed to do so. In addition, these announcements will have to include warnings with the name of the person or the organization which plays these announcements.

The new rules will apply to advertisements around nine social issues. These are listed as environmental policy, crime, economy, health, political values ​​and governance, civil and social rights, immigration, education and finally security and foreign policy.

According to a company statement, the reason it is enforcing the new rules is because it has learned over the past few years that “certain types of speech have the most significant impact on public opinion and how people vote at the polls ”, and that includes announcements on social issues.

Facebook already requires that all political ads in India go through the authorization process and include a “Paid By” warning. The policy was put in place in 2019 ahead of the general election in India.

When it comes to permissions to serve an ad, this means the user needs to confirm their identity and location, and provide more details on who paid for or posted the ad. The ads will also be added to the company’s ad library for seven years, which it does for political ads.

Ads that do not have the correct permission or disclaimers will be removed from the platform and archived in a public ad library for seven years as well, the company said.

The change is significant as Facebook ad revenue continues to grow in India. The new rules also mean that a wide variety of advertising content will now fall under the new rules. As reported by Indian Express, Facebook India Online Services reported a 41% increase in gross advertising revenue year over year to Rs 9,326 crore for fiscal year 2020-21, while revenue net increased 22% to Rs 1,481 crore over the end point. Facebook and Google also dominate the online advertising space in the Indian market.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook enforces this new rule. The company recognized that advertisements on social issues can often be about “sensitive, hotly debated and highly politicized topics on which the public can be deeply divided.”

The statement added that “these additional transparency features” are “designed to promote safe and healthy debate on influential topics so that people can better understand who is trying to influence them with advertisements.”

Facebook also gave examples of ads in every social issue that would require permission, and those that might not.

For example, for advertisements around crime, India’s definition states that these include “discussions, debates and / or advocacy for or against matters, including, but not limited to, domestic violence and sex crimes ”and these advertisements will be subject to review and enforcement.

Examples listed in this space are: “India is one of 36 countries in the world where marital rape is not illegal – the marital rape exception is enshrined in our laws. Another example is “Have you been a victim of cybercrime recently? Do you think we as a community should be doing something about this? Sign our petition today to show your support for victims of cybercrime! “

However, a person promoting a crime podcast would not need permission, per the example.

In the economy segment, the definition includes advertising content that “includes discussions, debates and / or advocacy for or against matters including, but not limited to, tax reform, monetary policy and economic growth. For example, advertisements such as “The government’s economic policies over the past seven years have been failing” or even “Help the elderly lead better lives by supporting retirement homes for the poor elderly in India. rural ”would require authorization and a disclaimer. .

On the issue of the environment, the content of the announcements, any “discussion, debate and / or advocacy for or against matters, including, but not limited to climate change, the global position on the environment and protection of wildlife pollution ”will be reviewed. Examples given include a demanding action on air pollution and another on the destruction of forests.

For security and foreign policy advertisements, permission will be required where the content includes “discussions, debates and / or advocacy for or against matters – including, but not limited to, foreign relations, trade policies and contested territories – are subject to review and enforcement. “

Here are a few examples: “The Prime Minister’s speeches to the nation are eagerly awaited as they provide his government’s vision and trade relations with other countries. “

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