Facebook Branded Content Policy: Should I Panic?

I’ve been receiving emails from readers who are concerned about Facebook’s new “Branded Content” policy for Pages.

There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about branded content, particularly since Facebook’s Branded Content Policies are vague and confusing.

Before posting about this on my blog, I wanted to hear from three reliable sources: Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner, and Facebook. Sure enough, they all published helpful information about the new policy within the last 24 hours.

I urge you to read their posts (see links at the end of this article), as they clarify the ins and outs of the policy.

Key things you need to know about branded content

Applies to blue-check verified Pages only. As the policy currently stands, it applies only to blue-check verified pages. So, if your Page is not verified or is gray-check verified (as @Blogging Bistro) is, the policy does not apply to you.

Mari Smith writes:

“[Branded Content] only affects blue-check verified pages that share 3rd party promotional content and are being paid to promote such content…

“But, if you do not have a blue-check verified page and IF you get paid at any time to share 3rd party content (including via affiliate links), as a best practice, you should disclose this in each post. e.g. usually by including a simple hashtag like ‪#‎spon, ‪#‎sponsored or ‪#‎ad. And/or a simple statement indicating you are receiving payment by the 3rd party and with a link to your full disclosure statement.”

I asked Kristi Hines, who wrote the article on Social Media Examiner, how those of us whose Pages are “gray-check verified” or unverified should disclose content that we share.

For example, on my Facebook Page, I share third party content every day, in the form of links, pictures, and videos I know my followers will benefit from. Kristi Hines noted that I can continue sharing others’ posts without adding the “Branded Content” label.

Kristi writes:

“…when you’re being paid, when you’re an affiliate, when you work for someone, or when you get free usage, you should promote it as branded. If you’re just sharing something because you like it, then there’s nothing wrong with that.”

No tagging required for Non-verified Pages. Kristi responds:

“Non-verified pages won’t have the ability to use the Branded Content tag. Other pages will still have to follow FTC rules of letting people know that they have been paid, given free products to review, or have some other affiliation. They just won’t have the special tag to do so.”

The Branded Content policy currently applies only to media outlets, celebrity, or influencer Pages.

How the tool works

Facebook Media explains:

“Publishers are required to tag the marketer’s Page in any post that mentions a third party brand, product, or sponsor. When tagged, the marketer will be notified and will be able to see high level performance insights, such as reach and engagement for the post. They also have the ability to share the post to their Page and put additional spend against it.

All branded content must be tagged using the tool, which is available through Page composer on desktop and iOS, Power Editor, Ads Manager, the Marketing API, and the Mentions app on iOS. We will extend branded content support to Android in the coming months.”

Look for the “handshake” icon in Page composer to add the branded content tag. In Ads Manager and Power Editor you will see a “Sponsor” field.

Handshake icon for Facebook Branded ContentPolicy Enforcement for Branded Content Posts

Branded content will go through a review process, similar to the way Facebook ads are reviewed.

Facebook writes:

“We will be enforcing the usage of the tagging functionality, along with compliance with updated Pages terms and ads policy, for all branded content posts on all verified Pages (with the blue checkmark).

We will begin ramping up enforcement over the next few weeks to remove non-compliant branded content or disapprove ads for lack of compliance.”

For further reading:

  1. Mari Smith’s Facebook post on Branded Content
  2. Social Media Examiner’s article, “Facebook Branded Content: What Marketers Need to Know”  – Kristi Hines shares excellent ideas about the benefits of branded content and how blue-check verified Pages can use branded content.
  3. Facebook’s overview of Branded Content

How to verify your Facebook Page

It’s easy to verify your Facebook Page.

For gray-check verification:

  1. Click Settings at the top of your Page
  2. From General, click Page Verification
  3. Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started
  4. Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language
  5. Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code
  6. Enter the 4-digit verification code and click Continue

For blue-check verification:

To see whether your Page is eligible for blue-check verification (if your Page represents a celebrity, public figure, sports team, media or entertainment), and to request a “Verified” badge, fill out this form at Facebook.

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