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Facebook, NAD Announce New Partnership

Social media company Facebook is kicking off the holiday shopping season by announcing two  new partnerships aimed at curbing online scams. The partnerships involve three parts: the use of the BBB National Program’s National Advertising Division (NAD) Fast-Track SWIFT program to more quickly identify and remove advertising that violates the platform’s Advertising Standards; Facebook’s participation on the BBB Corporate Trust Council; and a joint consumer-facing campaign—the BBB’s “Shop Safe, Shop Smart” campaign—to educate consumers about safer online shopping. 

In a blog post announcing the partnership, Facebook notes that it is “encouraging advertisers to follow our rules and use more ethical marketing tactics” by partnering with NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory and dispute resolution program, to take advantage of NAD’s SWIFT Program. NAD developed the SWIFT (Single Well-defined Issue Fast Track) advertising challenge process earlier this year to provide for expedited resolution of cases involving single issues that don’t require the review of complex evidence or legal arguments. As NAD has noted, the fast-track option is particularly well suited for challenges involving inadequate disclosure by social media influencers and in native advertising, misleading price and sales claims, and other cases that do not require complex claim substantiation.

As part of the partnership, NAD will share directly with Facebook the outcomes of cases related to specific ad campaigns, giving Facebook the ability to take quick action on ads that violate the platform’s policies. 

Facebook will also become a founding member of the BBB Corporate Trust Council, a coalition of companies that will commit their expertise, resources and funding support to meeting the long-term goal of “build[ing] more trusting relationships between companies and their customers.” The council is tasked with working with the BBB to identify and solve key issues affecting consumers and businesses, as well as developing educational campaigns and programs “to help businesses build trust with their customers and community,” and to help “consumers to learn to protect themselves.”

The consumer-facing Shop Safe, Shop Smart campaign will run on Facebook, Instagram and the BBB’s website, and will feature weekly “quirky digital ads” and content providing tips on a variety of topics including how consumers can shop and pay safely online, spot counterfeit products, and identify and report scams online.