New Facebook rules allow publishers and celebrities to share sponsored content

As more and more online content ends up hosted on Facebook, it becomes more important for Facebook to provide ways for publishers and creators to make money. That’s why some changes announced today to the social network’s branded content and ads policies could be a big deal.

Under the new rules, verified Facebook Pages can now share branded content (i.e., “any post — including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos — that specifically mentions or features a third party product, brand, or sponsor”) on Facebook. Who will be affected by this change? Well, verified Pages are usually owned by big brands, publishers, celebrities and other influencers, though there are exceptions.

Facebook says it’s also introducing a tool that will make it easy to tag the sponsor behind that content — in fact, tagging the sponsor will be required.

The company writes:

This update is something that media companies, public figures, influencers, and marketers have been asking for, as branded content is a growing and evolving part of the media landscape. People will now be connected to more of the content they care most about on Facebook as publishers and influencers gain an incentive to share more quality content — of all kinds — with their fans. We know that many of our partners have existing partnership deals with marketers, and this update gives them the ability to extend their branded content business onto Facebook.

While the changes are rolling out today, Facebook says support for live sponsored videos is still to come. It also says that not all types of branded content will be welcome — persistent watermarks and pre-roll ads are still forbidden, as are sponsored cover photos and profile pictures.

Update: Because there was some confusion about this (and it doesn’t hurt to get a little more detail), Facebook confirmed that publishers running branded content on Facebook was completely against the rules before, unless they received approval directly from the social network. That doesn’t mean things didn’t slip between the cracks, but officially, it was against the rules.