Facebook and Instagram Plan to Ban Influencers from Promoting Vapes and Guns

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For the first time ever, Instagram and Facebook are cracking down on brands who promote vaping, tobacco products or weapons on its platforms using the branded content feature. The feature allows brands to promote influencers’ posts to widen the audience reach beyond just their following. Instagram made the branded content feature available back in June and users see a “paid partnership with” tag on the post when viewing.

CNBC reports that Instagram made the announcement of the change on Wednesday and reportedly can close a loophole in Facebook advertising policies. Facebook ad policies blocked companies from the advertising of vaping, tobacco and weapons, but private users (influencers) were allowed to post about them. As a way to get around the block advertisers would put paid promotion behind those influencers post, up until now.

Instagram said it would be enforcing the new rule in the coming weeks and a spokesperson for the company said this is the first time it’s implementing restrictions around the type of items that can be promoted for branded content. The company also reports that branded content that promotes goods such as alcohol or diet supplements will require special restrictions. According to Facebook the company is out to build tools to help content creators adhere with new policies such as the ability to restricts, which users can view their content based on age. The new policies are scheduled to go into effect in 2020.