WARNING: This post contains strong adult language (you know, swearing) and may not be suitable for some readers. Reader discretion is advised!
It has been proven that people who swear a lot are more intelligent, honest, and a enjoy a whole host of other health benefits. Holy shit! Why wouldn’t we swear?! Well… when you want your ad to run on Facebook, for one.
Facebook has a pretty low tolerance for swearing. And by “low” I mean “no”… I mean no tolerance for swearing. In ads at least. You can swear your fucking brains out in a regular post, but if you want to Buzz it, you gotta clean it up. Here is their policy on the matter:
Ads must not contain profanity or bad grammar and punctuation. Symbols, numbers and letters must be used properly without the intention of circumventing our ad review process or other enforcement systems.
THE FIRST PART
The first part covers profanity, simple enough. Bad grammar and punctuation? I don’t know how they are policing that. It seems they put that in there just to cover their butt. We know (or at least we think we know) that Facebook uses algorithms as the first line of defense to check for advertising policy transgressions. Profanity is a pretty simple thing for a computer to scan for.
Now I’ve heard arguments both for and against using profanity in your marketing efforts. Either side may or may not have valid points. Whatever side you might fall on, I don’t care. Frankly, I curse like a voodoo witch who just stubbed her toe, but that’s me. The fact of the matter is Facebook doesn’t like profanity – and they make the rules. You don’t like the rules? You’re going to have to find another place to swear.
At Buzz Frenzy we handle appeals for customers when Facebook disapproves an ad (no charge, no worries) so we see what people are trying to slip past the algorithms. Regardless of how much we tell people it isn’t going to work, they still give it a shot Here are some of the top curse words that people still try to get past the robot bouncers.
This is the greatest of all of the swear words, not just the F-word, but the F-Bomb. It can be used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an interjection, or an adverb. It is so versatile that the sentence “the fucking fuck fucking fucked up our fucking plan… Fuck!” is a totally legitimate and comprehensible string of words. The F-Bomb is such a useful word that people still try to drop it into their advertising copy.
That’s never going to fucking work.
This is not quite as useful as “fuck” but is still used quite a bit. Interestingly its meaning changes dramatically when “the” is placed before it. “This is shit” = bad. “This is the shit” = good. I have a feeling it is the positive connotation that causes people to be adding it to their marketing messages.
I also have a pet theory: Shit > Crap > Poop. Meaning that if you are talking about the literal definition of the word, you will never get away with “shit”, you might get away with “crap”, and you’ll probably get away with “poop”. But this is just a theory and has not been validated in any way.
This one, by comparison, seems pretty tame but, regardless of how you may curse the rule-makers, it is still a profanity. Damn it!
THE SECOND PART
I love the second part of the policy, “Symbols, numbers and letters must be used properly without the intention of circumventing our ad review process or other enforcement systems” because it recognizes that we human beings, when not allowed to do something, will try our best to get around it.
How does that manifest itself when we want to swear?
No matter how many asterisks you put in it, it’s still Fuck. And, sadly, it’s pretty easy for a robot to figure that out.
Classic. And that’s why it will never get past the robots.
Ooh, very clever. Unfortunately you are not the first person to try and spell it this way. You lose. Robots win.
Here are some other fine curse words that you should not put into your buzzed posts, spelled correctly or otherwise:
bitch, crap, piss, dick, cock, pussy, asshole, bastard, slut, and douche
I would have put more, but this is the only reference I could find to the most widely used swear words on Facebook. But I’m sure you know a swear word when you see one.
WHAT TO DO
So when it comes to swearing on Facebook advertisements you are SOL. The robot gatekeepers are pretty good at sniffing it out and getting better every day. So what’s a true-blue potty mouth to do?
Like I mentioned before, I am a swearer, a utilizer of profanity. What I do is write out my copy with all of the attendant cursing in tact. Just let it flow. Then, when I have it out of my system, I’ll go back and clean up the filth with shiny, non-offensive words. So the sentence from earlier:
The fucking fuck fucking fucked up our fucking plan… Fuck!
The boneheaded blowhard inadvertently ruined our perfect plan… Alas!
While not as colorful, it will definitely sneak past those fucking robots.