Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Facebook bans RNIB sight loss video advert

Facebook bans RNIB sight loss video advert

Facebook has refused to accept a video advert by RNIB promoting its See the Need campaign because it breaks its guidelines on a Facebook advert that is“profane, vulgar, threatening or generates high negative feedback”.

The advert, which RNIB was going to pay Facebook to be published, features a close-up of a woman who is on the verge of tears. A narrator explains that she has just been told that she will lose her sight. There are no shocking images or sounds, just the image of one person reacting to devastating news.

When RNIB queried the ban, they were told by a Facebook staff member, according to The Guardian, that ““Ads should not single out individuals or degrade people. We don’t accept language like ‘fear of losing your sight, losing your job?’ and the like”. Instead, Facebook preferred adverts that presented information in a “neutral or positive way”.

The advert has been posted on RNIB’s YouTube channel and has been viewed nearly 60,000 times.


The See the Need campaign was launched earlier this month. RNIB is campaigning for every eye department in the UK to have access to a sight loss adviser, a specially trained member of staff who can provide practical and emotional support to patients who have just found out they’re losing their sight.

There is no fundraising element to the campaign, but many charities use Facebook to promote fundraising campaigns, both on a paid-for and organic basis.

Facebook’s advertising policies make it clear that they aim to protect their audience and strike a balance between letting organisations get their message across but in a way in which its global community feels comfortable with.


Update 30 September 2015, 12.22

Facebook has reviewed the video and now approved it to appear on its advertising network.

A Facebook spokesperson said:

“Facebook is a place for people and organisations to campaign for the things that matter to them, and the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s video ad is a great example of that. In this instance we made a mistake, and have contacted the charity to let them know and to apologise for any inconvenience caused”.



Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />