The social media conglomerate, Facebook Inc. is one of the most successful companies out there in the technology industry and the reason for that is the acceptance and popularity of its platforms among users across the globe. The company is the owner of Instagram and WhatsApp and together these three platforms create the conglomerate that Facebook Inc. is today.
Having said that, Facebook is known for its advertising process that, to be honest, shows creepily accurate ads, personalised to each user when they are using the social media platform. A lot of people still don’t understand the system behind Facebook accessing our personal data to show relevant ads but recently, Facebook’s rival Signal has notoriously exposed the company’s advertisement system and it actually made us question our privacy and security on Facebook and all its other platforms.
Signal’s blog post mentioned that advertisers can use a vast range of data points and details available on Facebook and Instagram to target audiences based on certain factors including demographics, location, behaviour, age and interests.
Combining all of these data points to allow advertisers to show us relevant and personalised ads based on the above-mentioned factors can be very useful but, in most cases, it is creepy and uncalled for.
Signal has definitely shown light to some extensively opaque truth about Facebook and even shared screenshots as examples of how Facebook ads would look if they were public about their advertisement system and audience targeting.
According to several reports, Signal mentioned in a blog post that the ad would simply display some of the information collected about the user which the advertising agency or platform uses. The post further mentioned that Facebook Inc. was not into that idea. WhatsApp competitor, Signal first wanted to expose Facebook through its own tools to highlight the company’s hidden practice of advertising but unfortunately, the social media conglomerate reportedly disabled the ad account.
Of course, Facebook would never agree to these claims in order to protect its interests and denied that the ad account had been shut down. The company also clearly dismissed the ads posted by Signal, calling it a publicity stunt.
Signal is standing firm on its claims and Facebook is maintaining their ethics as well but unfortunately, either way, the end-user is the one whose personal information is being revealed to these advertisers.
Evidently, Facebook’s advertising system had also allowed advertisers to target teenage children, showing them ads on extreme weight loss, smoking, gambling and what not. This shows that the company’s ads have to be kept in check and cannot alone be based on a user’s search history or interest. Facebook is responsible and it must take the responsibility if at all this is true because many analysts believe that this could be Signal’s tactics to get more WhatsApp users to switch to Signal.