The prohibited types of ads by the leading social media and search platforms

Before running an ad campaign, it is essential to know about the prohibited and restricted content by various online platforms. Almost all the social and search platforms have the same type of prohibited and restricted content but under their own rules.

Here is the prohibited ad content on the leading online platforms:

Facebook and Instagram

Instagram and its parent company Facebook have standard prohibited ad content which includes not promoting illegal products or services. Advertising tobacco products, firearms, and weapons are also not allowed on the platform. Ads should also not violate copyright, breach privacy, or any other personal rights.

Ads leading to inactive landing pages, payday loans, check advancement services, bail bonds, or even about selling body parts is prohibited.

As far as restricted content is concerned, online dating services ads need to be approved by the company first, just like political, social issues, and cryptocurrency services’ ads. Advertising about gambling, OTC drugs, and online pharmacies and state lotteries also have certain restrictions.

A LegitScript certification is compulsory to run an ad about drug and alcohol addiction treatment in the US. All the ads for weight loss products and diet plans must also be targeted to people above 18 years.

Google and YouTube

Recently Google simplified and standardized its content policies, with no noticeable change. Instead, it only reorganized the way content policies were presented and the set restrictions regarding AdSense, AdMob, and Ad Manager.

Google has mentioned the prohibited and restricted content for ads, with a general overview of what these two terms mean. The platforms prohibit counterfeit goods, harmful products and services, ads promoting dishonesty, and any inappropriate content.

Ad practices like abusing ad network, misrepresenting and collecting and using data without permission or predefined purpose are not allowed by Google.

Google has a comprehensive list of restricted content which includes adult content, copyrights, alcohol, gambling, healthcare, drugs, political matters, financial services, and trademarks. Every ad must abide by the rules of the region where it will be displayed.


Though Microsoft owns LinkedIn, but its ads policies are different from Microsoft and Bing. It has the same list of prohibited content along with a little addition to it.

LinkedIn does not allow downloadable ringtones ads, or any strict interpretations through horoscope. Dream telling and other activities involving superficial believe cannot be advertised.

Political ads are not just restricted instead complete unacceptable on LinkedIn, not allowing to support any specific political personality or party.

The restricted content by the platform is about alcohol, animal products, dating sites, soliciting funds, medical devices, or financial services.

The platform also does not allow vulgar, sexual, hateful, or obscene content.

Microsoft (Bing)

Microsoft and its search engine Bing have the same ad policies. A one-page list that mentions all the prohibited and restricted content and has links attached to further explain in detail.

Any political content or fundraising for political candidates is not allowed on Microsoft. Ads involving weapons and even knife cannot be run on the platforms. In specific regions, like Brazil, India, and Vietnam, advertisements about baby formula, feeding bottle or any other baby food-related is prohibited.


Pinterest also has standard prohibited content policies based on drugs, endangering species, promoting illegal products, counterfeit goods, and sensitive business practices. Ads related to weapons and explosives material and tobacco is also not allowed on the platform.

Offensive, violent, vulgar, and any ad promoting discrimination will be taken down immediately by Pinterest. It does not allow adult content or ads with clickbait.

Sponsor or endorsement promotions are not encouraged by the platform at all. Its restricted content like alcohol, financial services, gambling, or health care needs to be verified by the company before going live.


Reddit too has almost the same standards of restricted ads in which counterfeiting goods, dangerous and illegal products, and services are prohibited. It also does not allow inappropriate or irrelevant targeting of ads.

Advertisements related to addiction treatment services, political issues, elections, and financial services are not acceptable. Gambling-related ads need manual approval, as hotels are to be more in focus instead of the game itself.


Along with the usually prohibited ads on other platforms, Snapchat, due to its young audience, has additional prohibitions. Ads promoting snapping while driving or any shocking ads are not allowed. It prohibits infringing, deceptive, hateful, and inappropriate content.

Ads related to alcohol have certain restrictions. It is banned in 18 countries while in other countries’ ads, it must not glamorize alcohol or attract minors and also include a warning sign. Gambling ads have almost the same rules.

Like these ads, dating services are also allowed only if it targets 18 and above audience. Snapchat avoids promoting prostitution or infidelity. Most of the ads policies of Snapchat are region-based, where certain ad content is allowed in some countries whereas in others it is not.


The ad policies of Twitter are more straightforward and more accessible than any other platform. It too disallows the standard ads that have no good to offer to society. However, one of its unique, clearly mentioned rules is that the platform will not allow ads related to malware products or software downloads.

All the policies mentioned here are according to the current rules set by platforms as almost all companies keep changing their ad content policies, especially after the recent elections manipulation controversy.

Illustration Freepik

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