Social media advertising expert Jon Loomer has been in the game for a long time. You’d expect him to know any Facebook rule inside and out—so would he. So he was surprised when he uncovered a fairly niche rule that caused one of his recent ads to be rejected. Basically, don’t call FB “FB”.
Facebook’s rules require that ads not reference Facebook or Instagram in a way that goes against their brand guidelines. Since Loomer’s business involves educating people on Facebook marketing, he usually asks for a manual review and calls it a day. But this time around, someone specified that abbreviating Facebook and Instagram to “FB” and “IG” aren’t permitted in advertisements.
Surprisingly, Facebook will let you use the Facebook and Instagram logos in its ads, so long as you use the most up-to-date versions, and don’t spell their names wrong.
There’s no word on whether Facebook’s rebrand as FACEBOOK will be reflected in the new ad requirements, but that rebranding seems to be limited to the parent company, and not its flagship website and app. (That rebrand, the recipient of a great deal of online mockery, appears to be an attempt to dodge an FTC breakup.)
Facebook’s advertising side is notoriously difficult to work with. Advertisers do get customer support in a way that end users very much do not, but the rules can be ill-defined and selectively applied, especially if you’re working in a highly-regulated field.
And yet, Mark Zuckerberg recently stated outright that politicians, specifically, will be allowed to tell verifiable falsehoods in political ads on his platforms, framing the issue as a question of free speech. (Another fun little fact about Facebook’s advertising standards: In January 2018, they banned all cryptocurrency ads because they “are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” Now they’re launching a cryptocurrency of their own.
Even as Facebook (er, sorry, FACEBOOK) expands into new arenas, its public persona is very much that of a multi-billion dollar company that somehow manages to be on its back foot all of the time. In April, Zuckerberg announced that it was going to become a “privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform,” roughly a year after appearing in Congress over Facebook’s spectacular failure to be a privacy-focused anything.
All that to say – if you’re running for office, you can lie all you want, but for the love of all that’s holy, don’t abbreviate Facebook to “FB,” or your ad will be rejected.