BuzzFeed gets permission to use Facebook social plugins for ‘shareable ads’

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By Brittany Darwell Comment

Social news and entertainment site BuzzFeed has gotten permission from Facebook to use social plugins in advertisements on its site.

Facebook guidelines prevent third-party advertisers from using any platform integrations, such as the Like button or other plugins, in their ads without written permission from the social network. Mashable discovered new shareable ads on BuzzFeed, and Facebook confirms it is conducting “a small test” with “a select group of marketers” to allow this usage on some sites. It did not provide any examples beyond BuzzFeed.

Facebook would not comment on whether it is sharing ad revenue with BuzzFeed or other publishers who use its social features in advertisements. Although the company might not be doing so now, this could be an option for future monetization. More likely, Facebook is simply giving permission to BuzzFeed to use its plugins because its advertisements are more content-based than promotional. Instead of running banner ads, BuzzFeed displays posts from “featured partners” in line with its other articles. These stories share the same style as BuzzFeed’s other posts, for example, a post from Jack Daniels about “Easy party tricks to impress your friends” or a photo post from Hidden Valley Ranch about “10 foods made better with ranch dressing.”

These paid sponsors also get a branded BuzzFeed page with their articles, links to their sites and a Facebook Like box plugin, placement of which is typically not allowed to be bought or sold, according to Facebook guidelines. The social network probably wants to avoid being associated with scam sites that might sell placement of Like buttons or Like boxes. BuzzFeed, however, was an early Open Graph partner and seems to have a similar philosophy to Facebook about how ads should be shareable content, not interruptive.

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