Facebook’s revenue reached new heights in the last quarter, propelling its share price to a post-IPO high, as ad sales have surged on the social giant. Meanwhile, Facebook has also been dialing back the viral reach of brands on its news feed algorithm, which has reduced organic reach. So far, though, Facebook hasn’t treated native ads as advertising, and brands and publishers jumping through this loophole with glee.

When a publishers posts one of its native ads to its own Facebook page, Facebook registers that as an editorial posting rather than as a brand post. “As far as the algorithm goes, they are not treated as ads,” said Facebook spokesman Tim Rathschmidt. Major publishers are not shy about using this to their advantage, as the native Netflix ad in The New York Times showed. If Netflix had just put that on its own Facebook page, it wouldn’t have gotten the reach seen when The New York Times‘ in-house team created it, which meant it was treated like editorial when it was posted to Facebook.

So The New York Times is busily posting these ads to its T Brand Studio Facebook page, where they are getting good reach. The Netflix piece saw 4,952 Facebook likes, 1,053 Facebook comments and 1,860 Facebook shares for a total of 7,865 Facebook interactions as of July 22, according to social media analytics company SimpleReach.

Other publishers like Forbes simply post the ads to the same Facebook pages where they post editorial, so the reach for native ads is even greater. Forbes’ chief revenue officer Mark Howard said reach on Facebook posts for Forbes’ native ads is “comparable” to the reach Forbes editorial posts typically see. “There’s no statistically significant difference,” Howard said. Because “the social Web is a meritocracy,” brands have as much of an opportunity to generate a readership as publishers do, he added.

Source: DigiDay