By Rob Goldman, VP Ad Products

Our advertising team works to make meaningful connections between businesses and people. That’s a high bar, given many people come to Facebook, Instagram and Messenger to connect with their friends and family. Our goal is to show ads that are as relevant and useful as the other content you see. If we do this effectively, advertising on Facebook can also help businesses large and small increase their sales and hire more people — as research published recently showed.

While the world and our services are always evolving, we thought it would be helpful to lay out the principles that guide our decision making when it comes to advertising across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

We build for people first.
Advertising is how we provide our services for free. But ads shouldn’t be a tax on your experience. We want ads to be as relevant and useful to you as the other posts you see. This is important for businesses too, because you’re less likely to respond to ads that are irrelevant or annoying. That’s why we start with people. Our auction system, which determines which ads get shown to you, prioritizes what’s most relevant to you, rather than how much money Facebook will make from any given ad.

We don’t sell your data.
We don’t sell personal information like your name, Facebook posts, email address, or phone number to anyone. Protecting people’s privacy is central to how we’ve designed our ad system. This means we can show you relevant and useful ads – and provide advertisers with meaningful data about the performance of their ads — without advertisers learning who you are.

You can control the ads you see.
Clicking on the upper right-hand corner of an ad lets you easily hide ads you don’t like, or block ads from an advertiser you don’t like. Clicking on “Why am I seeing this?” tells you more about why you were shown the ad and takes you to your Ad Preferences. Anyone can visit their Ad Preferences to learn more about the interests and information that influence the ads they see, and manage this information so they get more relevant ads.

Advertising should be transparent.
You should be able to easily understand who is showing ads to you and see what other ads that advertiser is running. It’s why we’re building an ads transparency feature that will let you visit any Facebook Page and see the ads that advertiser is running, whether or not those ads are being shown to you. This will not only make advertising on Facebook more transparent; it will also hold advertisers accountable for the quality of ads they create.

Advertising should be safe and civil; it should not divide or discriminate. 
We have Community Standards that prohibit hate speech, bullying, intimidation and other kinds of harmful behavior. We hold advertisers to even stricter advertising policies to protect you from things like discriminatory ads – and we have recently tightened our ad policies even further. We don’t want advertising to be used for hate or discrimination, and our policies reflect that. We review many ads proactively using automated and manual tools, and reactively when people hide, block or mark ads as offensive. When we review an ad, we look at its content, targeting, landing page and the identity of the advertiser. We may not always get it right, but our goal is to prevent and remove content that violates our policies without censoring public discourse.

Advertising should empower businesses big and small.
We believe that smaller businesses should have access to the same tools previously available only to larger companies with sophisticated marketing teams. We have millions of advertisers — from local businesses to community organizations — who depend upon us to reach their audiences, grow their businesses and create more jobs. As long as they follow our Community Standards and policies that help keep people safe, our platform should empower all advertisers with all voices to reach relevant audiences or build a community.

We’re always improving our advertising.
We’re always making improvements and investing in what works. As people’s behaviors change, we’ll continue listening to feedback to improve the ads people see on our service. For instance, when people shifted to mobile, we did, too. We know our work isn’t done by any means, which means we’ll often introduce, test and update certain features like ad formats, metrics and ad controls.