On August 23, 2011, Facebook announced a new version of its advertising guidelines that it represents as “simpler, better organized and more intuitive.” Although most of the revisions are organizational in nature, there are a number of substantive changes that should be noted.  

Facebook now allows the promotion of off-line casinos and other legal gambling establishments, provided the ads are appropriately targeted. The promotion of online gambling remains prohibited in the U.S.; however, it may be allowed in other countries with prior authorization from Facebook. Facebook also now allows authorized state and national lottery commissions to advertise to users of the appropriate age within the lottery’s jurisdiction. Previously, all ads containing, facilitating, promoting or referencing gambling were prohibited without authorization from Facebook.

Additionally, the guidelines pertaining to pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements have been clarified. Facebook will allow the promotion of legal dietary supplements that do not contain certain listed prohibited ingredients. However, ads promoting the sale or distribution of prescription pharmaceuticals or online pharmacies remain prohibited.

Facebook has also revised its Help Center resources to complement the amended advertising guidelines. It now contains many of the specific requirements that were included in the previous advertising guidelines. For example, the advertising guidelines now reference the Help Center for the detailed restrictions regarding promotion of alcohol. Help Center resources also include examples of acceptable and unacceptable ads and detailed explanations of the reasoning behind those examples.

The revised advertising guidelines can be found online at http://www.facebook.com/ad_guidelines.php