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    There is no denying that the Meta Ads platform has become one of the most important marketing tools in the world. Companies and entrepreneurs use it to reach their target audience of potential customers, increase brand awareness and generate sales. However, there are certain restrictions on what you can and cannot advertise on Facebook and Instagram. Following these rules is key to avoiding misunderstandings with the platform and even potential legal consequences.

    what not to advertise on Facebook

    Dangerous content

    This is a type of content that can negatively affect the health and safety of users.

    Hazardous substances

    The most important rule is the absolute prohibition of promoting illegal or psychoactive substances. You cannot advertise their sale, use or any other activity related to them. This includes drugs, but also other dangerous substances and products like anabolic steroids. Advertising drugs is not only irresponsible, but also illegal in most jurisdictions (including Poland), which means it can lead to serious legal consequences.

    Arms, ammunition and explosives

    Advertisers may also not advertise the sale or use of weapons, weapon modification accessories, ammunition, or explosives. They may, however, display ads promoting products that are not sold directly as part of a physical weapon, as long as they are aimed at people who are 18 years of age or older. Facebook is aware of the risks associated with weapons and is working to ensure that ads in this category are controlled and comply with all laws, so this type of advertising is strictly controlled on the platform.

    Tobacco and related products

    Facebook also absolutely prohibits the promotion of the sale and use of tobacco or nicotine products, as well as related accessories such as electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, tobacco heating products or other products that simulate smoking. These types of products pose a generally known health risk and are potentially harmful to humans.

    However, it is worth bearing in mind that advertisers can broadcast commercials promoting products that are designed to make it easier to quit smoking. However, they must be approved by the World Health Organization or the US Food and Drug Administration. Such ads must also be targeted at people who are 18 years of age or older, and should comply with all applicable local laws.

    Objectionable content

    This group includes all content that may lead to a negative audience experience.

    Adult content

    Facebook has very strict rules regarding adult content. Ads containing nudity or depicting people in defiant or sexually explicit poses are prohibited. Facebook’s goal is to create a place that is safe for all users, so this kind of content is strictly controlled and banned. 

    According to advertising standards, ads may:

    • Show pictures of paintings, sculptures and other works of art depicting nude figures, as long as they do not have an explicit emphasis on exposed intimate body parts or sexual acts.
    • Focus on intimate body parts in the context of breastfeeding or breast health care, as long as they do not contain explicit nudity.
    • Depict nipples in the context of breast health care, as long as the advertising materials are illustrations or anatomical drawings and are aimed at people at least 18 years old.

    Grammatical errors and vulgarities

    Advertisements containing vulgarities, offensive content or inappropriate language behavior are also strictly prohibited on Facebook. This is because the platform strives to keep communication and content at an appropriate level. Advertisers must avoid using vulgar language or content that may be considered offensive or inappropriate.

    Facebook, meanwhile, does not have specific regulations regarding spelling and grammatical errors in ads, but it is worth remembering that professional and linguistically correct ads are usually more effective. Such errors can affect a company’s credibility and user perception. Therefore, advertisers should always strive to present content free of spelling and grammatical errors in order to make a positive impression on their audience.

    Personal qualities, health and physical appearance

    Advertisements must not contain content that ascribes or implies personal characteristics. For example, they may not directly or indirectly refer to aspects such as race, ethnicity, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation, sexual practices, gender identity, disability, health status, financial hardship, voting status, trade union membership, criminal history, or name.

    Personal characteristics may not be implied or implied.

    What’s more, advertising content must not promote or contribute to negative self-esteem in order to sell products related to diet, weight loss or other health issues.

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    Content restrictions

    These are all kinds of restrictions that are related to certain types of companies or products.


    Promoting alcohol on Facebook is allowed, but it must comply with all applicable local laws. In Poland, there is a total ban on alcohol advertising, except beer. This means that ads for other alcoholic beverages, such as vodka, wine or brandy, are illegal in our country. 

    It should also be remembered that these types of advertisements must be aimed only at people who are at least 18 years old. In addition, they must not contain content that encourages excessive alcohol consumption, promote aggression, or suggest that drinking alcohol is essential for success, attractiveness, or problem-solving.

    They must not be used to encourage the consumption of alcohol.

    Aesthetic medicine treatments

    Although Facebook allows the promotion of aesthetic medicine surgeries and procedures, provided that the ads are aimed at adults, in such cases it should be remembered that Polish law stands above these rules. Thus, as of January 1, 2023 it has been banned in our country to advertise procedures, performed with devices with a medical device classification, and treatments, carried out with medical products.

    Financial and insurance products and services

    Advertisements promoting credit cards, loans, or insurance are allowed, but they must be targeted at people who have reached the age of majority, i.e., are 18 years of age or older. At the same time, they must not directly request any data that identifies the identity of the recipients on the advertisement’s landing page.

    In Poland, financial services advertising must comply with the law and contain information in line with reality.

    Cryptocurrency-related products and services

    Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is a booming sector, but due to the risk of financial fraud and misinformation in this field, strict regulations are being put in place for advertising. Advertisers who plan to promote cryptocurrency trading platforms, software, services, or products based on blockchain technology must demonstrate that they have the appropriate licenses or registrations in accordance with applicable regulations.

    Wanting to advertise on the Meta Ads platform, advertisers must submit a recognized and lawful license or proof of registration to obtain written approval from Meta.

    Infringement of intellectual property rights

    This applies to any content that infringes or violates the intellectual property rights of third parties or the Meta platform itself. Therefore, it is prohibited to advertise on Facebook and Instagram: 

    • selling counterfeits, i.e., products in which the trademark (name or logo) or characteristic features of another company’s products have been copied and which imitate an authentic product
    • unauthorized or pirated versions of copyrighted works
    • all Meta brands in such a way that they constitute the most prominent or most distinctive advertising element. In addition, Meta branded resources should not be modified in any way, by changing their appearance or color.


    Facebook’s advertising regulations are key to maintaining an ethical and safe online environment. These rules are designed to protect users from harmful content, misinformation and unfair practices. Therefore, advertisers must be aware of these restrictions and act in accordance with them.

    It is also worth remembering that advertising regulations may vary from country to country and region to region, so always check local regulations to avoid legal problems and to maintain a level of professionalism in advertising.

    Advertisements play an important role in companies’ communication with customers, but their content must comply with ethics and legal regulations. Only then can advertisements be effective and safe for both advertisers and audiences.

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    Aleksandra Wrońska
    Aleksandra Wrońska

    She has been involved in internet marketing for two years, but despite her relatively short presence in the industry, she has already conducted advertising campaigns for small and large companies, both on the Polish and foreign markets. He treats digital marketing not only as a job, but also as a passion, which is why he tries to expand his knowledge and skills every day. She joined Up&More in January 2023, where she manages projects in Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Apple Search Ads.