What do Meta’s new advertising policies mean for sexual wellness brands?

by | Nov 9, 2022

Last month, tech conglomerate Meta announced changes to its global ads policy. The new changes mean ‘advertisers can run ads that promote sexual health, wellness, and reproductive products and services’

Female sexual health has long been absent from online (and offline) advertising. However, as zeitgeists shift surrounding female reproduction, intimate health and wellness, advertisers have been beginning to shift.

An investigation conducted by the Centre for Intimacy Justice (CIJ) in America found that over 60 health businesses and nonprofits serving women had their advertisements removed for selling ‘adult products’. These covered content surrounding pelvic pain and the menopause. At the same time, digital ads for erectile dysfunction and products for male pleasure were allowed to be displayed.

After these findings and subsequent campaigning, Meta has responded by allowing brands to showcase advertisements including products that address the effects of the menopause, pain relief during sex and sex education.

Campaigners, along with the tech company, are keen to note the differences between between sexual education and sexual content with the latter still being banned. It is also important to note that this change is only coming into force for users of the age of 18-years-old.

Meta’s new health policy will allow younger users to access important sexual healthcare information, which is critical to building greater awareness of women’s health issues. In particular, the menopause, birth control, and reproductive health.

Flo, a period-care brand welcomes the change in policy. On the development, Evie Plumb, Digital Marketing Manager at Flo says: ‘This is a good first step and is all thanks to people in the sexual health and wellness space rallying together and creating such a strong community on the platform. Historically, Meta has been more challenging than supportive, so we appreciate this step away from ‘working against’ our community and toward understanding our true message.

I am still seeing brands and individuals (including myself) having purely educational content unfairly removed for ‘nudity & sexually explicit imagery’, so it will be interesting to see over the coming months whether Meta is actually enforcing this policy change.’

Along with these policy changes, Meta has adapted its adult nudity policies to allow certain ads in medical or health contexts. This means that advertising for breast feeding aids which were previously halted are able to go ahead.

Jackie Rotman, founder of Centre for Intimacy Justice and the investigator for CIJ’s January 2022 report says: ‘The fact that Meta has changed its stated policy – a global policy that reaches people in every country Meta has users in – is exciting.’

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