Social media: problematic topics
We will generally endeavour to promote your finished animation across various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube). In some instances, however, our attempts at promotion are affected by the respective advertising and content policies of these platforms. In these cases, the channels might block our promotions if the content is deemed ‘prohibited’, ‘restricted’, or ‘sensitive’.
Please note, we will still be able to create and share your content on social media, but we may not always be able to promote it. While we usually guarantee a minimum of 25,000 impressions for untargeted campaigns, if we are unable to disseminate your content through social media for reasons beyond our control, this figure may not be possible.
Sometimes campaigns may run on one platform but not on another. In these instances, the budget is automatically allocated to the other platforms that the campaign has been approved on.
Previous examples of problematic subject areas include, but are not limited to:
- Drug use (we are unable to promote any content relating to CBD/hemp use)
- Gender and sexuality
- Climate change
- Fake news
- COVID-19 (see below)
Clearly, these are broad and indistinct research areas, which makes it difficult for us to accurately predict which content might face restrictions. Given the breadth of research we publish, it is often likely that our videos relate however indirectly to these categories.
In addition, the respective advertising guidelines are subject to constant alteration.
In some cases, we might be able to bypass a restriction through some nuanced editing, or by appealing if the review seems to be mistaken. This will lead to inevitable delays in the promotion process.
If difficulties arise leading to a delay, we will aim to contact you within three weeks of the promotion starting, to ensure we are fully transparent about problematic topics.
It is worth briefly familiarising yourself with key aspects of these social media guidelines, to better understand the complications of promoting your research on social media.
Facebook (current guidelines found here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/)
- Every promotion or advert on Facebook undergoes a stringent review process. These usually take place within 24 hours but may take longer.
- The review is looking to ensure the promotion does not include reference to a multitude of topics, ranging from: adult content, drug and drug-related content, discriminatory practices, personal attributes (the ad must not assert or imply any personal attributes), misleading claims, vaccine discouragement, etc.
- Those restrictions concerning ‘social issues, elections, or politics’ are often hard to accurately define, particularly when we are attempting to promote cutting-edge research related to social science, global development, public policy etc.
Twitter (current guidelines found here: https://business.twitter.com/en/help/ads-policies.html)
- Twitter has developed a series of ‘Sensitive Categories’ which are similar but not identical to those of Facebook. Twitter gives no guarantee of how long the review process will take.
- Twitter ‘globally prohibits the promotion of political content’. A lot of research which may not be willfully ‘political’ might still be deemed sensitive in this regard.
YouTube (current guidelines found here: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6162278?hl=en-G )
- YouTube undertakes an initial automated review prior to approval: this review looks to ensure the promotion does not feature ‘sensitive’ or ‘restricted’ topics similar to those outlined above. We can challenge this automated review by requesting a ‘human review’, but it is still highly possible that your research might be in breach of YouTube’s strict promotion regulations.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has led social media platforms to take a hard line against most pandemic-related content. We fully understand the need to stem the tide of misinformation relating to public health. We have often struggled to promote COVID-19-related content through our usual channels. In some of these circumstances, we have managed to promote content through Google Ads. This means research is still promoted, but we are unable to report promotional data in as much detail as we are with social media (e.g., demographic details or accurate impressions). We will still endeavour to promote your content, but please be aware that pandemic-related research may be subject to delays, or promotions may be blocked entirely.
We will always be transparent with you from the beginning regarding your social media promotion. Unfortunately, this might mean informing you that we are unable to promote your content.
If you have any further questions regarding social media promotion, please get in touch.