Facebook makes it clear: You can't make money from violence, porn, and fake news
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Facebook makes it clear: You can’t make money from violence, porn, and fake news


Facebook is getting more transparent.
Facebook is getting more transparent.

Image: brittany herbert/mashable

Facebook apparently wants all of the “bad actors” out of its social network. We’re not just talking about fake news writers and Russian propagandists for once. 

On Wednesday, Facebook released a blog post with guidelines on what publishers and what content can earn money from sharing to or posting on the site. Making money from Facebook includes content sponsored by a brand, sites featuring ads from Facebook Audience Network, ads in Facebook Instant Articles, or ad breaks in Facebook videos.  

The standards are pretty clear about nine categories banned from making money via Facebook:

  • Misappropriation of Children’s Characters

  • Tragedy and Conflict (ex. natural disasters, crime, self-harm)

  • Debated Social Issues (ex. attacks on people or groups) 

  • Violent Content (against people or animals) 

  • Adult Content (ex. nudity, explicit or suggestive positions) 

  • Prohibited Activity (ex. sale or use of illegal products) 

  • Explicit Content (ex. blood, medical procedures, gore)

  • Drugs or Alcohol Use

  • Inappropriate Language

Facebook also introduced new product tools that will inform publishers when their content is disabled from advertising. These publishers can then appeal within a new system directly on the site. Before, Facebook lacked that transparency and ability for publishers to take action immediately.

The content guidelines aren’t brand new to Facebook, but the clarity and new tools help Facebook in its quest to increase the amount of high-quality videos on the site. Facebook is investing in publishers creating exclusive series for its Watch program, rather than just promoting short-form, thumb-stopping videos on News Feed. 

The news also comes as Facebook invests in Live video, the first program in which it paid partners for content. Facebook released software updates Wednesday that will improve the speed and processing of live video and revealed a partnership with Wowza for a new device exclusively made for Facebook Live. 

The new standards should also help Facebook regain the love of advertisers after several measurement errors over the last year. Facebook announced its audit from the Media Rating Council will be completed over the next 18 months, as well as the creation of new partnerships with DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science, two platforms for analyzing brand safety. 

“At Facebook, we take very seriously our responsibility to earn and maintain the trust of our advertiser partners—and give them the confidence they need to invest in us. That’s critical to their success and ours,” Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. 

Of course, Facebook didn’t suffer too much from those miscalculations in reporting. The company still brought in $9.3 billion in revenue over the second quarter of 2017. Facebook reported $27.64 billion in revenue for all over 2016. 

Yet, as Facebook continues to go for the $70 billion locked in TV advertising and competes against Google in the digital ad duopoly, the company has clearly taken proactive steps to ensure it’s bringing in dollars from trusted brands and not Russian propagandists, for example. 

Publishers always had to comply with Facebook’s Community Standards and other terms of service. This update makes it explicitly clear what is and isn’t allowed. A ProPublica report from June highlighted how confusing and rather cringeworthy Facebook’s hate speech guidelines were. 

As part of this update, Facebook has taken another crackdown to fake news as well. Facebook Pages that repeatedly share stories that are identified as false by third-party checkers will no longer be able to participate in all of Facebook’s revenue programs. This step is an expansion of Facebook’s move last month to no longer allow Pages who share false news to pay for promoted posts on News Feed. 

Publishers making money from Facebook is, as always, a work in progress. Facebook is instituting its new feedback loop to videos with ad breaks first and later expand the effort to Instant Articles. 

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September 13, 2017
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