Facebook Ad Policies: Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll
Jan 26, 2017 - MARKETING
Jorge Lopes

Tricky things; those Facebook Ads. You can create the best advert ever - an ad filled with emotion, action, adventure, fantasy - and it still won’t pass the review process.

What’s up with that, Facebook?

Well, it turns out they have a whole list of “what’s up” and it’s a little terrifying to look at, especially when not all of it is relevant to you. Luckily for you, there’s a much less scary way to find out what’s blocking your ad...

Review Process

Most of the time the censorship people at Facebook tend to review your advert within 24 hours, but occasionally it might take longer. I’ve seen reviews take around 48 hours before, so don’t worry if you’ve not heard back after the first day.

Your ads are reviewed based on their content, which includes the:

  • Product
  • Copy
  • Image
  • Landing Page

They don’t want their users to be given adverts which could be potentially harmful, so there are a few limitations. You should keep text on your images to a minimum because you’ll be penalised if your image is more than 20% text. If you’re unsure how much text your image has, you can check using this image checker tool.

Other limitations include...


There tends to be a hazy spot when it comes to cigarettes (and other tobacco-related products) in adverts. It basically comes down to what you’re selling. Anything promoting the sale of tobacco products (or things related to tobacco products) is a big no-no. Especially in the US and UK where smoking is becoming heavily restricted.

You can include things which link people to tobacco-related interests or even anti-smoking… anything you want. As long as you’re not promoting the use or sale of tobacco, you’re good to go.

Visual Example

Naughty - Do not do

Example of bad tobacco use in adverts 

Should be fine

example of safe use smoking in adverts 


This is one is pretty simple. Don’t do drugs. Like tobacco, anything that promotes the sale of drugs won’t get past the review stage. Unlike Tobacco, you’re not allowed to include things related to drugs either. The one safe policy is to stay clear of them all together.

Visual Example

What were you thinking?!

Drug use in adverts 

Should be okay

rehab tshirt 

Adult content

Yeah, I feel like you know what I’m going to say here. If it’s not safe for work, it REALLY isn’t safe for your adverts. In fact, even more so than the drugs section, you should avoid putting in any kind of nudity, suggestive positions/ activities or anything sexually provocative.

Visual Example

Yeah… No.

NSFW banner not safe for work 

Lookin’ good!

safe advert image


Facebook is a little more relaxed when it comes to featuring alcohol on your adverts. The only real limitation is on who and where you target your ads. For example, sending out ads with alcohol to 16-year-olds is generally frowned upon by the law (and by us here at Moteefe). Ads featuring alcohol are also banned in certain countries, just to name a few...

Afghanistan, Brunei, Bangladesh, Egypt, Gambia, Kuwait, Libya, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Visual Example

Generally frowned upon by the law

underage drinking 

Yup, that’ll do

safe use of alcohol in adverts 


Turns out the Facebook review people don’t like stealing either (picky aren’t they). You’re not allowed to feature anything that is owned by someone else. That means you might need to check if something is under trademark, copyright or owned by proprietary rights.

You can use sites like GOV.uk or the CLA if you’re worried about whether you’re infringing copyright at any point.

Visual Example

Getting sued isn’t much fun

copyright infringement example 

Being creative is though

bacon design moteef 


You should never lie on your ads. Facebook always knows. They check your product and landing page during the review so if you’re caught lying about anything on your advert, they’ll stop it from going up.

Visual Example

Seems legit

dont lie on your adverts 

Think I’m getting the hang of this

Selling phone cases online 

That should do it

Hopefully that list was a lot less scary than the terms and conditions on Facebook’s page. If you have any questions about Facebook’s policies or about… anything really, then you can ask us at the Moteefe Hangout on Facebook.

Don’t forget to go to our design builder and get started with those campaigns. Now that you know the review process, nothing can stop you. Get out there and #MakeItHappen!

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