Facebook to clamp down on who can profit on ads

As a response to criticism that it is too easy for fake news providers and sensational headlines to cash in, Facebook has toughened its rules on who can earn money from advertising on its network.

Facebook started implementing the new guidelines with immediate effect to make it clearer which publishers can earn money on the world’s biggest social network and with what content.

The new standards coincided with an appearance by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, in Germany, one of the social network’s toughest critics on safeguarding privacy and hate speech.

Facebook, together with Alphabet’s Google, accounts for around two-fifths of internet advertising, which is anticipated to increase by 13 percent to $205 billion this year as by consultancy Zenith – overtaking television as the largest channel for companies to pitch their wares to customers.

Marketing executives have reprimanded Facebook for failing to make sure that the digital ads disseminated to its active users reach their target audience.

It has also received criticism from major advertisers for boosting its audience figures and inadequately tracking ads, which were seldom placed alongside content detrimental to the brands being advertised.

Facebook said it would solicit accreditation from the U.S. non-profit organisation, the Media Ratings Council, for services on audience measurement.

“We take very seriously our responsibility to earn and maintain the trust of people in businesses,” said Sandberg to the major digital marketing gathering in Cologne, dmexco.

“We hear their concerns about safe environments, about standards, about measurement, and this is critical to us,” she said. “We’re working hard to roll things out that give you more control over where your ads run, and more knowledge about where your ads run, before, during and after the campaign.”

FACEBOOK COMMUNITY STANDARDS

In the future, to profit on Facebook, publishers and content creators will have to comply with its so-called community standards, which aims to guarantee that content is genuine, not offensive and adheres to its standards.

Publishing content flagged as false news or misinformation may be ordered not eligible to profit from Facebook, as would creators of sensationalism and clickbait.

The guidelines of Facebook for monetisation provide broad definitions of content that would not be allowed – which includes “family entertainment characters engaged in violent, sexualised, or otherwise inappropriate behaviour”.

Also covered are depictions of casualties, physical injuries, and death in tragedies such as natural disasters; and content that is inflammatory, demeaning, incendiary, or disparaging towards people or groups.

Facebook said it would provide post-campaign feedback to advertisers that clearly identifies the publishers that ran their ads.

Facebook will also improve its monitoring on hate speech, adding around 3,000 content reviewers to almost double the size of its existing team, Carolyn Everson, its Senior Vice President for Global Marketing Solutions, said in a post.

“As soon as we determine that content has breached our community standards, we remove it. With a community as large as Facebook, however, zero tolerance cannot mean zero occurrence,” said Everson.

Germany has led the way in requiring action on hate speech. In June, its parliament legislated a law to impose fines of a maximum of 60 million dollars or (50 million euros) for social media networks if they miss to promptly remove hateful postings.