What Facebook's New Platform Advertising Terms Mean To Developers And Ad Networks

This afternoon Nick Gianos posted about the revised Facebook terms “for all ad and offer providers and related services that operate on the Facebook Platform”. It’s a subtle change over the existing ad terms but it appears to be a step toward Facebook monitoring more of the activity on the Platform. The new guidelines are an effort to prohibit those advertising networks who continue to play games with the Facebook ad staff. These new standards create more transparency between the ad networks, Facebook, and developers.

It’s pretty clear that Facebook is looking to prevent the continued proliferation of misleading advertisers. Some of the most important updates are as follows:

The ad provider agrees to strictly comply with the prohibitions on developers sharing data with monetization providers and ad networks and other limitations on data collection, storage, and usage set forth in the Facebook Policies, and agrees to promote compliance with these policies by the developers and applications it works with.

After massive amounts of user information were shared from large applications with ad networks, Facebook began placing restrictions, and eventually prohibited the sharing of user information between ad networks and developers. This was part of a concerted effort to remove those ads which included user photos, friend information, and other personally identifiable information. This policy was originally implemented back in July of last year, however Facebook is now restating this policy.

The ad provider agrees to provide to Facebook the names, email addresses, and business addresses of all operators and employees of the ad provider and any other related information requested by Facebook for the purpose of maintaining a direct relationship with the ad provider. The ad provider also agrees to share with Facebook the contact information, implementation specifics and payment details, for each developer or application on Facebook for which the ad provider provides services.

This is an extremely significant statement from Facebook. Not only are they requiring all contact information of developers and the employees of ad networks but they also want information about all developer payment details. There are two ways to read into this: Facebook wants to ensure all transactions are legit and/or Facebook wants a significant amount of competitive data prior to launching their payment platform. My guess is that it’s a little bit of both. SEE UPDATE BELOW

If the ad provider owns or operates an application on Facebook Platform, the ad provider may not make customer support contingent upon using such an application or require a user to share information with the application, and will not use any data it receives through operation of the application to tailor content (such as serving advertisements through an ad network). Failure to abide by this term will result in an immediate ban from operating on Facebook Platform. The ad provider agrees to give Facebook audit rights to confirm compliance with this term.

This term highlights one of the workarounds ad networks were using to collect user data. Want to learn more about the ads on Facebook applications or how to prevent them from showing up? You can install an application to find out more at which point that ad network collects data about the user and then uses that targeting information to provide more targeted ads further down the road.

The ad provider agrees to take steps necessary to ensure Facebook may review all content (including advertisements) served on Facebook Platform using the ad provider’s services, including sending a feed of all content from all geo-locations. The ad provider will disclose any efforts it makes to tailor different advertisements to different audiences to ensure that those efforts do not lead to reduced visibility by Facebook. The ad provider will make user complaints available to Facebook. Any IP blocking of Facebook employees or any other related efforts to hide content will result in an immediate ban from operating on Facebook Platform.

One of the common tricks used by ad networks previously was to block California from seeing any of the aggressive ads on the platform. The aim was to hide misleading ads from Facebook employees (who work in California). What is most significant about this new policy is that advertisers must now send “a feed of all content from all geo-locations” directly to Facebook. This will require not only development overhead of the networks but also more insight for Facebook. However Nick Gianos claims that “Facebook does not approve or vet the content or services of any ad provider.” However if they want to, it appears they will now be able to monitor every ad that runs on the platform.

Overall, the ne Platform Ad Terms are not exactly surprising, however the amount of information Facebook will now hold about the advertising landscape is more than impressive. They will know the most important details about every ad network on the platform which basically means by operating an ad network on the Facebook Platform, you will continue to be at the mercy of Facebook. It was always obvious that this was the case, however these new terms make it pretty clear.

Facebook reached out to notify us that payment information of developers “will only be requested if there is a very clear need to do so.” This information is not required for third party ad networks to function on the platform but data must be made available if requested.