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Why Is Facebook Rejecting My Non-Political Ads for Political Reasons?

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If your work spills anywhere into the social media realm, there’s a chance you may have noticed a few hiccups while attempting to run ads or boost posts on Facebook over the past few months.

As someone who works at a marketing and communications agency that works primarily with environmental or social justice-based clients, Facebook’s political and cryptocurrency verification requirements got me, too.

I’m not a politician — I just want to run a simple ad. Why is Facebook doing this to me?

Let me just start off with my most sincere condolences. This process ain’t easy.

I verbalized this frustration time after time to Facebook reps while modifying my posts to adhere to non-political language guidelines and trying to avoid getting caught in the mess of the verification application but alas — it’s simpler to suck it up and just go through the process.

To very briefly recap Facebook’s past couple years, the company has been under fire for countless issues relating to politics and privacy. The platform’s ability to showcase political ads and fake news has been a central issue since the 2016 presidential election. The spread of hate speech via Facebook has polarized friendships, pitted family members against each other at holiday dinners, and even caused the UN to pinpoint Facebook for playing a lead role in sparking serious global violence. Most recently, Facebook was called out by the New York Times for granting Microsoft, Amazon, and Spotify greater access to user’s data than disclosed, including direct messages.

So, Facebook decided that the solution would be an authentication process to make sure that you, said advertiser, are really who you say you are. Because just in case sh*t hits the fan, they want to have the ability to trace back to the source and put the blame on whatever criminal (/bot?) put the ad out in the first place (as opposed to having the blame go on them).

After a few months spent getting verified, I’m here to help you get through the process without this:

My life from May-October.

Political Verification How-To

1. Confirm your personal identity.

Go here. At the time when I was dealing with this, a Google search of “Facebook political verification” didn’t cut it — all it came up with were hits from Verge and New York Times and Politico contemplating it, with no directions on how to solve the problem.

In this step, you have to:

  • Create a 2-factor verification process for logging into your Facebook account on an unrecognized device. Meaning, when I log onto Facebook on a computer I haven’t used before, I have to provide a code generated on the mobile app to prove that I am really me. Because surely, someone must be logging into my account to hack the local nonprofit I run ads for about their work preserving land. Ha.
Where to find your generated code on the mobile app.
  • Submit a scan or photo of a valid, government-issued ID. Sounds really official, but they need proof of identity.
  • Confirm your US residency. AKA, submit your home address for Facebook to mail a postcard with a code on it that you later submit on this page.
Woohoo! Successful identity confirmation after the above 3 steps.

2. Have other Page Admins confirm their identity.

Even if you’re the only one actively running your Business Page, have everyone who has access to Business Manager get verified, just in case.

This is essential for those who work at agencies, so that when you eventually offboard, your client won’t have to deal with this process independently or have to pause any important campaigns while undergoing verification.

3. Verify your pages.

  • For each Page that you plan to run ads from, go to the Page Settings and select the Authorizations tab on the left.
See “Step 2” directions…
…and accept all Terms and Conditions to link your ad account. Voila!

Also, cryptocurrency.

Here’s another barrier that I ran into with my client Regen Network, a project that uses blockchain technology for security and transparency in its platform that connects funders to regenerative farmers. Though blockchain is a key part of the platform, we’re not selling or advertising buying our cryptocurrency — we’re trying to raise brand awareness and promote our project that’s quite literally on a mission to reverse climate change by promoting eco-friendly farming techniques. Yet, our ads were continually dinged for being crypto-related.

Rejection hurts.

And it took literal months of speaking to a Facebook Marketing Expert before he gave up on my blockchain case, apologizing for the lack of progress and referring me to the Facebook Support Team instead.

When I finally got connected to a Crypto Advertising Specialist on Facebook, I learned that removing crypto language from your Facebook page doesn’t help. You have to wipe your entire associated website domain clean from crypto references, which is impossible if blockchain or cryptocurrency plays a role in your project.

It makes perfect sense that Facebook wants to tread cautiously when it comes to deceptive financial advertising, but my frustration was that our project is so purely-intentioned — and it took months for an informed Facebook rep to finally give me the key to getting around this issue: the Cryptocurrency Products and Services Onboarding Requestapplication.

It’s just as thrilling as it sounds.

Unfortunately, I was was unable to get approval in this process.

I was blocked in the step of verifying my domain because Regen Network’s website URL is https://www.regen.network/ rather than a “.com” or other common type of top level domain.

I’m still struggling with this issue. But the good news is that I have found occasional loopholes when my ads go through without getting flagged — what I believe is a result of countless Facebook support requests, phone calls, attempted applications, and diligent ad submissions.

Success!

In conclusion…

In conclusion, it’s annoying. It’s annoying for us commonfolk who are simply here on Facebook to vamp up the social media pages of our awesome projects or clients.

It was especially frustrating dealing with the crypto advertiser verification process, which took months for Facebook reps to even get me in touch with the right person — who, turns out, still couldn’t solve my problem. @Facebook, can you get it together with your employees, please?!

But in the grand scheme of things, I’m happy that Facebook is taking charge of the power their product holds.

Let me tell you, I’m not ready for another election cycle like 2016. I’m past fake news. I’m ready for clarity, transparency, and unswayed voting — and if taking a small (or very, unnecessarily large) chunk of time from my life means those things become more tangible in this digital age, that seems like a fair price to pay.

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