The short-term ban of political and social ads on Facebook, started November 4th, 2020, has been lifted. Communication directors and affiliated agencies have reasons to rejoice. While the lift itself is a huge sigh of relief, the processes put in place between the start date and now are always celebratory. 

67% of citizens want governments to make it easier to interact with digital services (Source:” Citizens: Know them to serve them” by Accenture, July 2019). Bringing the message and processes to them is a need that organizations need to attend to. 

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The ban lift allows verified government, agencies, and individuals to create campaigns that were previously non-allowed including highly sensitive topics, such as Covid-19, and less sensitive topics such as local crime surveys. 

Messages for local government will still need to be created with verified profiles and paired with verified disclaimers. 

How can local governments and nonprofits build community and raise awareness around important issues? 

Using tools to connect with your community, raise awareness around important issues, encourage healthy behavior, register people for services, and fostering community is the highest level of the use case for modernizing your digital outreach and communications. 

Pairing campaigns, with messaging, and re-engagement increases trust and provides timely updates that can be scaled based on the messaging importance.  

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Why were political and social ads banned in the first place?

The answer: people were abusing the tool. Facebook’s ability to communicate with billions of people had reached a cycle and level of impact where allowing blatant false message ads (with tens of millions of dollars behind them in some cases) were doing so much harm, a line in the sand had to be drawn. What began as a short ban to ad critical steps, such as verifying the id of ad purchasers, are seemingly no-brainers, those steps simply were available. 

“We put this temporary ban in place after the November 2020 election to avoid confusion or abuse following Election Day,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle. As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.”

Why were good advertisements penalized?

Accountability. There simply was no process in place to prevent the good from becoming worse and vice versa. All ads regardless of intent or message must pass through a multi-step process which included identification verification of the advertiser and verified disclaimers to allow more transparency over who was paying for the message being shown.

Should your government agency or nonprofit create marketing messages on Facebook?

Without a doubt, yes. Facebook, and its platform network, make up the largest social network in use worldwide. By switching market messages from shouting important subjects to creating a more holistic approach of engagement and re-engagement, you are allowing your message to reach more people on the platforms they are comfortable communicating on. 

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