Although most businesses are welcome to advertise on Facebook’s platform, there are some products and services that Facebook won’t allow on its site that you may not be aware of if you’re not partnered with a Facebook advertising company. Before you decide to promote your business with Facebook ads, review this list of prohibited items to sell on Facebook – products and services banned and restricted from Facebook’s platform.
Table of Contents
1. Tobacco Products
Facebook doesn’t allow the advertising of tobacco and tobacco-related products, including these:
- Chewing tobacco
- Tobacco pipes
- Hookah lounges
- Rolling papers
- Vaporized tobacco delivery devices
- Electronic cigarettes
However, Facebook does allow ads that promote blogs or groups about tobacco. Other tobacco-related ads are also allowed, such as those that promote anti-smoking campaigns, e-books, counseling services for smoking addiction, rehabilitation programs, and facilities for smokers.
2. Weapons and Explosives
Facebook doesn’t allow ads promoting weapons, including the following:
- Paintball guns
- BB guns
- Pepper spray
- Self-defense weapons
If your ads link to landing pages where people can purchase weapons, those ads will be flagged by Facebook.
Images of weapons are acceptable, as long as the weapon is not pointed directly at the person seeing it. Ads that promote blogs or groups about weapons are allowed. Those ads may contain images of weapons, as long as they are not pointed directly at the users seeing the ad.
3. Derogatory Personal, Political, and Religious Content
Facebook bans ads that promote hatred against its users. In particular, the social media company doesn’t allow ads attacking the following:
- National origin
- Religious affiliation
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
If your ads promote hate speech against any of the above, they will be rejected and your account flagged.
4. Spy Cams and Surveillance Equipment
James Bond may be the world’s most famous spy, but his new idea for a spy store won’t get very far on Facebook. The social media company doesn’t allow the promotion of spy cams, mobile phone trackers, or other surveillance equipment. The promotion of private detective services may be allowed, so be on the lookout for Magnum PI.
5. Counterfeit Goods
A study shows that nearly 25% of luxury-item ads on Facebook were leading to sites that may promote or facilitate the sale of counterfeit goods. Facebook has taken a firm stance and will block any ads that fall within this category.
6. Fake Documents
Forgers looking to expand from dark alleyways and windowless vans will run into problems on Facebook. Ads may not promote fake documents such as degrees, passports, and immigration papers.
7. Adult Products and Services
As a general rule, Facebook ads may not contain nudity, overly sexual, or pornographic material of any kind. But how much skin can be shown in a Facebook ad before it gets rejected? Here are examples of what Facebook rejects and approves.
Facebook Ad Was Approved
- Facebook ad with woman in t-shirt with minimal cleavage.
- Facebook ad with woman in low v-neck t-shirt with noticeable cleavage.
- Facebook ad with woman in normal swimsuit.
- Facebook ad with woman in normal t-shirt wearing underwear or boy shorts.
Facebook Ad Was Rejected
- Facebook ad with woman in bikini.
- Facebook ad with woman in shorts with no shirt, hands covering breasts.
- Facebook ad with normal shorts with low cut t-shirt exposing some underside of breast.
However, ads for family planning services and contraceptives are allowed.
8. Penny Auctions
Penny auctions lure consumers into thinking they are able to purchase high ticket items like iPads, designer handbags, and other electronics for a margin of the retail price. What the companies don’t disclose is that you must pay to bid, meaning multiple people are paying money, but only the highest bidder receives the final item. Facebook has stated that no ads may promote penny auctions, bidding fee auctions, and other similar business models.
Although alcohol is allowed, you must abide by local laws. For example, while the drinking age in the US is 21, it’s 18 in the U.K. Additionally, some countries may not allow the promotion of alcoholic beverages.
10. Body Parts
Because the sale of body parts is illegal, it also isn’t allowed on Facebook. “Body parts” specifically refer to the illegal sale of organs.
Although legal in several U.S. states, any promotion of cannabis is banned from the site. This includes cannabis paraphernalia, such as bongs and rolling papers.
Although dating ads are allowed on the platform, advertisers must abide my Facebook’s policies to make sure their ads are approved to run. Advertisers must also be pre-approved by Facebook to run ads.
13. Drug Tests and Exam-Taking Services
Services that involve taking exams or drug tests on behalf of clients are banned from Facebook.
14. Face Masks
Due to COVID 19, the demand for face masks rose. However, with this demand came price gouging. As a result, face masks that protect the nose and mouth are allowed with restrictions. Cotton masks are allowed while medical-grade masks aren’t. Ads must not also promote false information about COVID-19 or unrealistic promises about the benefits of face masks.
15. Fake Followers Services
Companies that offer to sell fake followers, engagement, or website traffic to clients are banned from the platform.
Only certain types of gambling are allowed on Facebook. For example, ads for casinos are allowed while online gambling isn’t.
17. Hacking and Surveillance
Services and software for hacking and surveillance are not allowed on the platform.
18. Illegal Automobile Modification Products
Illegal automobile modification products are banned from Facebook. Here are the five most common products:
- Radar detectors
- Loud exhaust
- Under-body neon lights
- Modified headlights and taillights
- Super dark tint
Lottery ads are allowed but with restrictions. Government-run lotteries are allowed, as long as their targeting abides by the law.
20. Multi-Level Marketing
Ads for multi-level marketing companies, or pyramid schemes, are banned from Facebook.
21. Over-the-Counter Drugs
OTC drugs are allowed but with limitations.
22. Payday and Short-Term Loans
The following loans are banned from Facebook:
- Payday loans
- Paycheck advances
- Bail bonds
- Short-term loans (90 days or less)
23. Personal Loans
Personal loans are also not allowed on Facebook.
24. Online Pharmacies
Ads for online pharmacies are allowed, but ads for pharmaceutical drugs are not.
Although political advertisers must first be approved to run ads, political ads are usually allowed on Facebook, as long as they abide by applicable laws.
26. Recreational Drugs
Recreational drugs and drug paraphernalia are banned from Facebook.
27. Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs are not allowed
Ads for rehabilitation centers are allowed but with restriction.
29. Reproductive Health
Ads promoting reproductive health are allowed but with limitations.
30. Spyware and Malware
Spyware (spy cams, phone tracking devices) and malware (computer viruses) are not allowed on Facebook.
33. Subscription Services
Subscription services with the following conditions are not allowed:
- Negative options
- Automatic renewal
- Free-to-pay conversion billing
34. Unauthorized Set-Top Boxes
Unauthorized set-top boxes are not allowed on Facebook.
35. Unsafe Supplements
Unsafe supplements, such as anabolic steroids, chitosan, comfrey, dehydroepiandrosterone, ephedra, and human grow hormones, are banned from Facebook.
36. Binary Options
Facebook bans financial products and services associated with misleading or deceptive practices. The following are not allowed:
- Binary options
- Initial coin offerings
- Contract for difference trading
To stay up to date on Facebook’s ad guidelines, read the full list of Prohibited Content on Facebook.com.