In the run-up to the 2019 election this November 5, 2019, both Facebook and Twitter have made announcements that will impact advertisers and advertising trends. The controversy is sure to heat up even more in anticipation of the 2020 election, which will draw more voters and attract more advertising dollars to the platforms. How will this impact non-political business advertising? Mostly with transparency settings.
The controversy began brewing even more in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, when foreign powers came in to question for ad purchasing strategies that may have influenced American voters. Since then, all social media platforms have been embroiled in the controversy, with very real concerns for potential sanctions by the United States government for their advertising policies.
The controversy has grown this week with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey announcing that Twitter will not run any political ads, a safe move that may protect them from more government oversight or even potential prosecution were election tampering discovered on their platforms.
Twitter has long been a safe home for objective journalism. Some writers and publications are willing to forgo or even decry Facebook or Instagram, but are unwilling to quit Twitter. Twitter's announcement to ban political ads appears a protective move to safeguard this reputation.
While most businesses advertising on Facebook and Instagram are not politically focused, the controversy continues to impact any and all advertisers on Facebook. The Page Transparency Settings on Facebook are where business owners can see all the details of how these changes will impact them.
For example, starting November 7, 2019, the name of the verified business owner will begin appearing on every business page. Heretofore, Facebook users had strategies to not disclose the main party running or even owning a page. Now Facebook is moving to make such information public.
The page verification process began in October 2018, with Facebook announcing:
Today, we’re also announcing that people who manage Pages with large numbers of followers will need to be verified. Those who manage large Pages that do not clear the process will no longer be able to post. This will make it much harder for people to administer a Page using a fake account, which is strictly against our policies. We will also show you additional context about Pages to effectively assess their content. For example, you can see whether a Page has changed its name.
While these enforcements are mostly designed to prevent foreign entities from purchasing extensive ad campaigns in the United States under false or deceptive business names, legitimate US businesses are still feeling the impacts. For example, if you run political content on your page, Facebook's artificial intelligence programs may receive an alert depending on the language that you choose.
In that instance, your business may receive an alert asking if you intend to post or run political content on your page. If your page is not focused on political content, and only making an infrequent announcement, it is best to make sure that you are not classified as a page that addresses political or social issues. Accepting such a classification may impact your advertising in the future.
Many businesses don't realize that any ads you are running on Facebook are public information. In order to see what ads you or your competition is running, just check the following:
- Visit any Page's timeline
- Scroll down to the Page Transparency below the About section
- Tap See All
- The date the Page was created.
- The primary country locations where the Page is managed. This applies to all Page roles.
- The number of people who manage the Page in each country.
- The Page's previous name changes.
- Any Page merges that happen on or after September 6, 2018.
- The confirmed business or organization that has claimed ownership of the Page.
- Any confirmed businesses or organizations who have been granted access to help manage the Page.