After Facebook imposed a ban on smaller dating sites advertising on the social network, approved dating advertisers were posting ads that infringed the new guidelines.
Last year, founders of sites like Houston-based Neumate discovered that their ads were being removed by the Facebook team with no prior warning.
In January, Facebook announced they would take down any advertising from dating sites who were not approved partners.
They released a statement which said:
“We got a lot of negative feedback from people about many of these ads, and in some cases they violated various policies. To keep the quality of ads on Facebook high, we are not currently accepting new online dating advertisers.”
The social network said that to become approved, you would have to reapply on 15th February.
However since then, online dating sites have found it incredibly hard to get authorisation, and Facebook recently told Business Insider that the policy towards smaller, non-approved sites would remain.
“We are only allowing ads for dating sites to appear on Facebook from advertisers who have Facebook account representatives. This ensures the manual review and counsel — to show the best ads possible — is in place.”
Facebook said that the violation of certain policies, such as ads with explicit content and a “sexual emphasis”, were one of the main reasons they had cut down the number of sites who could advertise.
The guidelines state:
“Ads for adult friend finders or dating sites with a sexual emphasis are not permitted. Ads for other online dating services are only allowed with prior authorization from Facebook.
Dating ads may not use images that imply nudity or are otherwise provocative or sexually suggestive. Images may not show excessive cleavage or skin or otherwise inappropriately dressed people.”
Facebook included the following examples to show what is, and isn’t, acceptable:
However Houston dating site Neumate have provided photos which show that after the 15th February cut-off, approved dating advertisers were displaying ads that violated Facebook’s guidelines.
The top screenshot was taken on the 28th February, the two below on 3rd March and 8th March.
Last week, an unnamed CEO of an online dating company contacted Business Insider, saying Facebook’s decision had been incredibly harmful to his business.
The CEO said he had $500,000 to spend, but Facebook would not take his money.
“We’d be fine if Facebook wanted to ban all dating apps for whatever reason. The problem is they’re letting the big guys in while keeping the small, innovative companies out. So the rich will continue getting richer, and in the end the consumer will suffer because competition is reduced. It’s simply impossible to gain traction as a new dating site today without access to Facebook ads.”
And the screenshots above will further rub salt in the wound, considering the “big guys” got away – for at least three weeks – with violating the very rules the smaller companies had been banned for.