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Marketing 360® Blog

Facebook’s Anti-Discrimination Policy (How to Avoid Ad Disapproval)

Post By Scott Yoder | Case Studies | Facebook Ads

Going against Facebook’s anti-discrimination policy is a fast way to have an ad disapproved – for reasons you’re probably not clear on. Let’s clear it up.

Facebook makes a broad claim. One of their core values is “fostering a positive global community”.

It’s an altruistic, positive value to pursue. We’ve also noted how they seek to create a “happiness ecosystem” that keeps people from leaving Facebook. Positive – and profitable.

Within this is an anti-discrimination policy that states advertisers can’t discriminate based on certain personal characteristics such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family/marital status, disability, or medical or genetic condition.

Fair enough, but like a number of Facebook’s ad policies, the application is nuanced. For instance, you’d be surprised to find this ad was disapproved because of this policy:

Huh? What’s discriminatory about this?

There are a couple of things going on here.

The first is that there is an important clause to the anti-discrimination policy. Advertisers are required to apply to applicable laws regarding offers of housing, employment, and credit.

If your ad has anything whatsoever to do with those three types of offers, the yellow light goes off with Facebook’s policy.

They provide these comparisons:

No advertiser is going to blatantly create an ad that discriminates against a group. But if your ad is about housing, employment, or credit and you use targeting to reach a select audience, your ad will probably be disapproved.

For example, the problem with the above roofing ad is that it connects to housing and there’s a multicultural affinity setting in the audience.

In fact, this ad shouldn’t have an issue. Facebook requires that the advertiser certify their compliance with the policy and the ad will be reviewed.

The anti-discrimination policy is part of the personal attributes policy that, in essence, keeps advertisers from generating negative feelings in Facebook users.

No doubt you won’t create ads with the intent of violating these policies, but because of nuanced elements and an imperfect review processes, you’ll likely violate them.

For the most part, keep your ad content fairly benign. Avoid tactics that evoke personal feelings or classify people in any way.

And if you’re offering housing, employment, or credit, be extra careful about how you segment audiences. More or less, you have to make those offers to everyone, or Facebook won’t let you make them at all.