The Mike Bloomberg memes we've all seen on social media make us laugh, but they seem to give Facebook a headache. The company announced today that it is changing its rules on Instagram and is asking users to mark these posts as sponsored.
Facebook today made a statement to TechCrunch about the change, saying: " After hearing about several campaigns, we agree that there is a place for brand content in the political discussion on our platforms. We allow US political candidates to work with authors to create this content, provided the political candidates are authorized and the authors disclose paid partnerships through our branded content tools. "
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Essentially, the company is changing its Instagram sponsorship rules in response to this posts. Previously, the company did not allow political campaigns to run ads, branded content, or the like on the platform because the campaign was able to generate advertising revenue based on its rules. In essence, it wanted to avoid the company using its mechanisms for collecting money. However, if it's branded content published by an influencer or meme channel, it's technically not advertising because the transaction takes place between the creator of the content and the political entity and Facebook itself is not involved. Sponsorships like this are not included in Facebook's ad library, so you can see who paid for the ads displayed.
Now when you see Bloomberg-style meme posts, the channels must do so. Add a small tag that says "Paid Partnership." Sure, if you look at the memes in question, most of the people who posted them volunteered for sponsorship, but Instagram's new rules would at least make it clearer. Facebook asked that all Bloomberg meme posters add the tag to their posts retrospectively. However, we didn't see it when we looked up some of the memes shown here. If the campaign pays off to increase the reach of a meme post, it falls under the advertising rules that are now bypassed.
Regardless, the meme campaign may no longer appear for long. If the reactions cataloged by Vox are expected, potential voters are not responding well to the Sponcon and are calling on both the Bloomberg campaign organizers and the meme channels to participate. To be honest, I'm more offended by how much these memes made me wince than anything.