November 13, 2017
Due to concerns that Russia potentially used Facebook ads to influence the presidential elections, Facebook has developed a transparency system that requires all sources of ads to be viewable. The system will go live this month. What this means is all pages with advertising will have an option for users to view the advertisers that run them. That is a great idea.
The History of FB Ad Transparency
The Facebook ad transparency system originally started out as a planned way to show viewers the publishers running the campaign advertisements and any other related ads. It evolved into becoming a requirement for all ads—on any subject or any product.
Back in September, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about what the company is doing to protect national elections, as well as foreign country elections in relation to ad campaigns. Then earlier in October, Joel Kaplan (vice-president of public policy for Facebook) discussed the decision to make all advertising transparent, in addition to election campaign ads.
Why Do This?
What often starts out as one way to solve a particular issue can become something to improve other areas too. This is the case with Facebook advertising. After all, if you are going to provide viewers a way to see who is running a page’s campaign or election ad, why not take it a step further to improve the overall social experience.
Advertising can be annoying at times for the viewer, but it can also be beneficial by displaying ads relevant to their interests. Just like any other social media website, you want your users to trust you. The problem with social advertising is that you never really know who paid for the ads to get published or even why. You have no idea where the link will actually take you, nor do you know what the ad’s intention is. Twitter is adjusting its advertising policies as well in the wake of the Russian accusations.
Facebook’s Release of Russian Ads
Ad links and messages can be dangerous, such as the case with presidential election months last year. It was briefly mentioned above that the U.S. accused Russia of releasing misleading and misguiding ads and social posts across their network to alter the election votes. The investigation is currently under way. Facebook has given Congress more than 3,000 ads used by a Kremlin group accused of influencing the 2016 US election.
In summary, advertising gets used at times to mislead, misrepresent, and confuse social media members. This is exactly why Facebook decided to take action and implement its transparency system. Regardless, “viewer beware” is surely a good thing to keep in mind. Social comments and pages can also influence viewers and misdirect them too.
David Molnar is CEO of Dave’s Computers, a leader in computer repair and data recovery in New Jersey. LIKE Dave’s Computers’ Facebook page to stay current on computer issues and trends - you might even find some “computer humor” there! Subscribe to Dave’s blog for additional computer tips and tricks.