Depending on what industry you work in, you may have received a message from Facebook saying an ad you tried to run was rejected or isn’t performing well due to breaking Facebook advertising policies. Because their policies aren’t outlined in an easy to find place in Facebook Business Manager, it’s easy to forget there are rules that must be followed while advertising. So what are the Facebook advertising policies?

Below, we outline the different Facebook advertising policies, so you know how to create effective ads that are approved by Facebook.

Prohibited Content

The Facebook advertising policies that fall into this category can not be used at all for any reason or by any advertiser. The below list of items will immediately get your ad rejected, and if you keep trying, they could get your account suspended altogether.

  • Community Standards – ads must comply with Facebook’s community standards, which include avoiding violence and criminal behavior, promoting safety, removing objectionable content, using integrity and authenticity, and respecting intellectual property. You can read them here
  • Illegal Products or Services – ads must not in any way constitute, facilitate, or promote illegal products, services or activities. They also shouldn’t mislead minors (or people in general).
  • Discriminatory Practices – ads must not discrimate against any group of people in any way, including race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition.
  • Tobacco and Related Products – ads must not promote the sale or use of electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, or any similar products.
  • Drugs & Drug-Related Products – ads must not promote the sale or use of any drugs, whether they are illegal, legal, or recreational.
  • Unsafe Supplements – ads must not promote the sale or use of unsafe supplements. Facebook will ultimately make the decision of what is safe.
  • Weapons, Ammunition, or Explosives – ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, explosives, or related items.
  • Adult Products or Services – ads must not promote the sale or use of adult products or services. The only exception is family planning and contraception, which must target people 18 and older.
  • Adult Content – ads must not contain nudity, suggestive positions, or other sexually provocative content.
  • Third-Party Infringement – ads must not violate any third party copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other personal or proprietary rights. 
  • Sensational Content – ads must not contain shocking, disrespectful or violent content.
  • Personal Attributes – ads must not make direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition, financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record, or name.
  • Misinformation – ads must not make claims debunked by third-party fact checkers or organizations with particular expertise. 
  • Controversial Content – ads must not contain content that exploits controversial political or social issues.
  • Non-Functional Landing Page – ads must drive traffic to functional landing pages.
  • Cheating and Deceitful Practices – ads must not promote products to help someone cheat or be deceitful. 
  • Grammar & Profanity – ads must not contain profanity or bad grammar.
  • Nonexistent Functionality – ads must not contain play buttons, notifications, checkboxes, or other functionality that doesn’t work.
  • Personal Health – ads must not contain before and after images or images that promote diet and weight loss. 
  • Payday Loans, Paycheck Advances, and Bail Bonds – ads must not feature short-term loans that are 90-days or less.
  • Multilevel Marketing – ads must not promote quick compensation for little investment and similar business models.
  • Penny Auctions – ads must not promote penny or bidding fee auctions.
  • Misleading Claims – ads must not contain deceptive, misleading or false claims.
  • Low Quality or Disruptive Content – ads must drive traffic to high quality landing pages and content that relates to the ad.
  • Spyware or Malware – ads must not contain or feature links to spyware or malware.
  • Automatic Animation – ads must not contain auto-play content. 
  • Unacceptable Business Practices – ads must not promote products or services meant to scam people.
  • Circumventing Systems – ads must not disguise the ad’s content or landing page.
  • Prohibited Financial Products and Services –  ads must not promote misleading or deceptive promotional practices.
  • Sale of Body Parts – ads must not promote the sale of human body parts or fluids (thank god).

Restricted Content

The Facebook advertising policies that fall into this category relate to topics that you can post about ONLY if you follow the rules outlined below:

  • Alcohol – ads must comply with all local laws in all the countries, states, and territories you are targeting.
  • Dating – ads are only allowed if you receive prior written permission. To receive permission, fill out this form.
  • Real Money Gambling – ads are only allowed if you receive prior written permission, and they must target people 18 or older. 
  • State Lotteries – ads must adhere to all laws or only target the areas where the lottery is available.
  • Online Pharmacies – ads must not promote the sale of pharmaceuticals.
  • Promotion of Over-The-Counter Drugs – ads must comply with all local laws in all the countries, states, and territories you are targeting.
  • Subscription Services – ads will be allowed at Facebook’s discretion. 
  • Financial and Insurance Products and Services – ads must disclose all associated fees and the physical address of the entity offering the product within the ad’s landing page. They should also target people 18 or older.
  • Branded Content – ads must tag any business partners or organizations you are promoting.  
  • Ads About Social Issues, Elections or Politics – ads must comply with all applicable laws.
  • Cryptocurrency Products and Services – ads are only allowed if you receive prior written permission. Request permission here.
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment – you must be certified with LegitScript, and apply to Facebook for permission to advertise. Request permission here
  • Weight Loss Products and Plans – ads must target people 18 or older. 

Best Practices

Facebook is always looking for ads they think people want to see. That’s why if you don’t follow the below best practices, your ad will be shown less frequently or stop being shown altogether:

  • Avoid disruptive content – flashing videos or gifs
  • Minimal text in images – they prefer no text but will accept a small amount
  • Don’t request discriminatory information – including criminal history, finances, religion, health, political party, race or ethnicity, or sexual orientation

Once thing worth noting – Facebook does make mistakes. We’ve had ads rejected because of “violating various Facebook advertising policies” that weren’t actually violating anything. When this happens, you can request a manual review of the ad. It takes a little bit of time, but they will approve it and begin running the ad. 

Either way, familiarizing yourself with these Facebook advertising policies will keep your ad account active and keep your ads performing at their best. Want to learn more about marketing? Check out these resources