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Facebook’s new guidelines could block news outlets from ad revenue

The list of content ineligible for ad revenue includes material 'in the context of news.'
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NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook announced new guidelines today about what sorts of content can collect ad revenue on its platform. While it clarified the types of publications that will no longer get ad money, it also removed the line between content that promotes unsavory or offensive subjects and content that's reporting on them -- a move that could have a big impact on the sorts of topics that will appear on Facebook.

Among the content that will likely get publishers cut off from ad revenue are misappropriations of children's characters, debated social issues, violence, adult content, drug and alcohol use, offensive language and graphic content. You can see the full descriptions here. If what's published is deemed to be in violation of these guidelines, publishers will be notified that ads have been removed from the material -- a decision that can be appealed.

Throughout the list of content that could render publishers ineligible for monetization, Facebook notes that the rules can apply "even if the intention is to promote awareness or education" and even if the post is "in the context of news." That means that publishers may choose to not post content about important but messy topics because they might not be able to make money off of it.

Along with these guidelines, Facebook also announced new tools for advertisers. The site is working on adding additional third-party measurements of ad performance from DoubleVerify and Meetrics, which will join existing partners Nielsen, Oracle Data Cloud and others. Facebook is also seeking Media Rating Council accreditation, which will provide reviews and information on audience measurement practices. Additionally, the company is adding 3,000 content reviewers and will begin providing advertisers with reports on where their ads ran.

These are the latest changes to how Facebook uses ads on its site. While other tweaks have been in the name of fighting fake news, these appear to be largely to please advertisers. As of now, the new content guidelines apply to videos but they will be extended to Instant Articles in the future.

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