On Wednesday it was announced that Facebook and Instagram will start removing posts that promote vaping, tobacco, or weapons “in the coming weeks,” according to an IG spokesperson. This is the first time Instagram‘s ever tried to restrict what its content creators can be paid to promote.
Branded content promoting alcohol and diet supplements will require special restrictions, although Instagram didn’t specify what those will entail.
In June, Instagram rolled out “branded content ads,” which allows brands to turn influencers’ sponsored content posts into ads so they can reach a bigger audience. When branded-content ads appear on the feed or in Stories, they look similar to regular ads, but users see the words “paid partnership” and the brand’s name.
On Wednesday, the company also said it’s expanding the branded content tools it offers.
The announcement also says this is part of a larger push to help its content creators interact with their business partners. These changes include updates to the Brand Collab Manager, a Facebook tool which is now available for a select group of Instagrammers. As Instagram is now hiding like numbers on posts, this tool could, in theory, be a way for influencers to share the impact of their sponsored posts with their brand partners. Given that content creators often have to worry about scammers stealing their accounts via phony analytics sites. Real brand deals often rely on such data, so often users don’t question being asked to log into these sites by people claiming to offer them such deals. An actual, in-app tool for tracking that data would hopefully cut down on users who fall for such schemes.
As for the restrictions on what can be advertised, it’d be interesting to see what else the platform bans over time. Instagram has had to curtail a flood of sponsored posts for weight loss products and cosmetic surgery, as such ads aren’t doing much for the mental health of its youthful audience. Earlier this year, it restricted the visibility of these posts so that they won’t be visible to users under the age of 18, and any post that makes a claim about a product’s “miraculous” qualities or offers a discount code will be removed.
According to the announcement, sponsored posts for alcohol or diet supplements “will require special restrictions” but it’s not exactly clear what those restrictions are. Instagram says it’ll begin enforcing these new policies in the coming weeks.