Facebook’s policies force publishers to tag underwritten content as if it were produced with a ‘sponsor,’ even if that’s not true

You might have heard: Sponsored content is generally understood to be content that takes the same form and qualities of a publisher’s original content and usually serves useful or entertaining information as a way of favorably influencing the perception of the sponsor brand

But did you know: “Facebook’s [sponsored content] policy may be adequate when it comes to distinguishing between ‘branded’ and ‘organic’ Lady Gaga content; it leaves much to be desired when it comes to describing the kinds of stories that Gizmodo Media does,” Gizmodo’s John Cook writes. Under Facebook’s current rules, publishers must tag a story as “sponsored” when a story or series is underwritten by an advertiser. But that’s different than sponsored content, Cook explains: “When we do this, we agree to acknowledge that advertiser’s role in providing the funding for the series by way of a logo or credit in the episodes — and that’s it. We don’t collaborate with the advertiser, or discuss production details, or preview cuts of the episodes, or permit them in any way to influence the end result. … What this means in practice is the publishers are required to lie to their readers, and — simply because of the obtuse nomenclature and unyielding rules adopted by Facebook — present editorial stories and video as produced ‘with’ an advertiser that played no role in their creation.”