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October 26, 2020

More Information on Social Issue Ads on Instagram

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA

In response to interference in the 2016 U.S. election, we instituted several changes to our ads policies to provide greater transparency for ads about social issues, elections and politics.

We want people to be able to run these ads, but we know that not all ads that could influence an election are related directly to a candidate or voting. Some ads may be about what we call “social issues.” For example, sensitive, heavily debated topics like civil and social rights, the environment, or immigration.

Here are some helpful tips to guide those who may want to engage on social issues through Instagram ads, plus resources on the upcoming restriction period for ads about social issues, elections and politics.

What Qualifies as a Social Issue Ad?

Social issue ads play an important role in society and elections. We require increased authenticity and transparency to run these ads, because we believe the discussion of social issues could influence how people think, how they take action or vote and this can impact outcomes, like an election or legislation.

Our policy reflects the public discourse around social issues on and off Facebook and Instagram that seek to influence public opinion through advocacy, debate and discussion. Over the years, we’ve worked with organizations like the nonpartisan Comparative Agendas Project to identify what the issues are.

A few examples of social issues include ads that discuss, debate or advocate for or against topics like the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration reform, healthcare reform and climate change activism. Examples of country-specific social issues and types of ads that do or don't require increased authenticity and transparency, can be found here.

People who want to run social issue ads are first required to complete an ad authorization process and include a ‘Paid for By’ disclaimer on their ads so people can see who is responsible for the ad. Learn how to get authorized to run social issue ads here.

You can find more information on social issue ads here.

Upcoming Ad Restriction Period

We recently announced that Facebook will not allow any new ads about social issues, elections or politics in the final week of the campaign from October 27 through November 3. It’s important that campaigns and organizations can run get out the vote campaigns, but in the final few days, there may not be enough time to counter new claims. Ads may run through Election Day as long as they run prior to October 27. These ads will be in the Ad Library for seven years, where they can be discussed and debated in the open. More information and best practices on how to prepare for the restriction period can be found here.

After the polls close on November 3, we will also temporarily stop running US social issue, electoral, and political ads to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse. This includes ads that may have run during the final week of the campaign. We plan to notify advertisers when this policy is lifted.

The restrictions to US social issue, electoral and political ads for both the pre-election and post-election periods apply to ads on both Instagram and Facebook.

Additional Resources

Get Started with Civic Engagement
  • Intro to Civic Engagement
  • Use Facebook and Instagram to Grow Social Engagement in Your Community
  • Use Facebook Tools to Reach Your Community for Civic Engagement
Create Socially Impactful Content
  • Share Content on Issues You Care About
  • Tips to Create Photos and Videos for Civic Engagement
  • Interact With Your Community Through Stories
  • Use Live Video to Engage Your Community in Real Time
  • Create and Manage a Content Calendar

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA