CENTRAL TEXAS — Facebook and Instagram unveiled a new policy to restrict sales and limit content related to alcohol, tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Any companies posting content related to selling, or giving away these goods, will have to limit their content to adults.
“Our commerce policies already prohibit the sale of tobacco or alcohol in places like Marketplace, but we’re now extending this to organic content,” said a spokesperson for Facebook. This means all private sales, trades and gifts of these products are banned.
The new policy went into effect Wednesday. It is something anti-tobacco advocates say is a major step forward.
“They know that’s where youth are and can see their product, and it looks like what we’ve seen with big tobacco,” said JoAnna Strother, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association, western division.
This form of advertising is something youth say has permeated the market.
“Ads are everywhere as we know,” said Alejandro Jimenez, 21, Killeen. “You see it on every app that we’re on,” he said.
Dalila Salazar, Assistant Prof. of Marketing for A&M Central Texas, says the consumer voice is being heard, and social media giants are paying attention.
“It is going to be a challenge for marketers to continue their competitiveness and to continue these resources and to find alternative communication sources, Because social media is such a prolific way of communicating,” said Salazar.
Under the new rules, social media ‘influencers,’ who are paid to promote nicotine products, will be allowed to post content without age restrictions.