Facebook and Instagram thrive as a community, and businesses are the cogs that keep the economy turning.
If a content creator makes a sponsored post promoting a product, social media platforms rarely frown upon them. Another way of saying it, there was always some flexibility for influencers to get paid to promote products on the platforms.
This time, and for the first time, Instagram is putting restrictions around the types of items that brands can promote using 'branded content', which lets brands promote influencer posts.
And the contents the platform is prohibiting, are those that relate to vaping, tobacco products and weapons.
Previously, Facebook's ad policies have banned the advertising of vaping, tobacco and weapons. But users were still able to post about them, meaning that advertisers could put paid promotion behind those posts. With the update, this isn't allowed anymore.
This policy update should close a loophole in Facebook's advertising policies.
According to Instagram on its blog post:
"Branded content that promotes goods such as vaping, tobacco products and weapons will not be allowed. Our advertising policies have long prohibited the advertisement of these products, and we will begin enforcement on this in the coming weeks."
And as for branded content that promotes things like alcohol and diet supplements, require special restrictions.
"Creators are the cornerstone of the Instagram community. They inspire people all over the world, and branded content is one way they’re able to build sustainable businesses on Instagram," said Instagram.
As the policies are putting some restrictions to the community, the platform commits to invest even more resources to help creators build their business.
For example, Instagram is building specific tools to help them comply with these new policies, including the ability to restrict who can see their content, based on age.
Instagram also outlined other changes in its announcement, saying that it is testing Facebook's 'Brand Collabs Manager' starting with 40 Instagram content creators in the U.S.. It is also working to give professional accounts the ability to share engagement analytics metrics including likes with business partners directly inside its app.
"We’ve also made it possible for brands to see insights when they’re tagged in branded content in both Brand Collabs Manager and the Instagram app. Because influencer networks remain a critical part of branded content, we’ll continue to support their access to the Instagram Graph API."
With Instagram is hiding like numbers on posts, this tool could help influencers share the impact of their sponsored posts with their business partners.
Weapons can be dangerous; vaping and tobacco products aren't providing health benefits; weight loss products and cosmetic surgery also aren't doing much for users' mental health. By introducing the restriction, Facebook and Instagram be a safer place for its young audience.
While politics have become sensitive subject that social media platforms have been focusing on, Facebook and Instagram show that users well-being is equally important.