The latest update from Facebook and Instagram is going to affect publishers... again.

Facebook rocked our world a few weeks ago when it announced plans to cut back on publisher content inside its news feed, but the changes Facebook quietly made to its branded content guidelines last month have the potential to impact more than just traffic. 

According to the new guidelines, which are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, page owners are not permitted to accept “anything of value” in exchange for sharing content that they did not have a hand in creating through their pages. 

Translation: You cannot sell posts on your Facebook pages any longer if you are linking to content you did not create. 

Now, how are Facebook and Instagram going to enforce this? It claims it will rely on a system developed to detect the difference between content shared by a publisher organically versus content shared with the likelihood of a financial arrangement.  

If you aren't currently selling posts on your Facebook or Instagram account, and do not plan to, this does not affect you. Keep calm and carry on. But if you are, it would be wise to consider the potential consequences of non-compliance, which initially include warnings from Facebook, but can ultimately lead to having your page shut down. 

Facebook and Google are certainly making it their business how publishers can monetize their audiences, which despite being done in the name of user experience, certainly has the ability to affect the bottom line.