Instagram bans influencers from getting paid to promote vaping and guns

For the first time, Facebook and Instagram are restricting the types of items that brands can promote using "branded content."

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By Megan Graham, CNBC

Facebook and Instagram will no longer allow influencers to promote vaping, tobacco products or weapons on its platforms using "branded content."

Instagram announced Wednesday that it would no longer allow "branded content" that promotes those goods on either platform. In June, Instagram announced a change that would let advertisers promote posts from influencers, or users who work with brands to promote services or products. Users see a "paid partnership with" tag on a post when viewing that branded content on Instagram.

The change closes a loophole in Facebook's advertising policies. Even though Facebook's ad policies have banned the advertising of vaping, tobacco and weapons, private users can post about them, and until now advertisers could theoretically put paid promotion behind those posts.

The company said it would begin enforcing the new rule "in the coming weeks." An Instagram spokesperson said this is the first time it's restricting the types of items that can be promoted for branded content.

The company also said branded content that promotes goods like alcohol or diet supplements will require "special restrictions" once new policies go into effect next year. According to Facebook, the company is building tools to help content creators comply with new policies, such as the ability to restrict which users can see their content based on age.

Instagram also outlined other changes in its announcement. The company is testing Facebook's "Brand Collabs Manager" starting with 40 Instagram content creators in the United States. The company that said, as "part of its continued test of private like counts," it is working to give professional accounts the ability to share engagement metrics, including likes, with business partners using new settings in the app.