- Amid questions around digital advertising practices from the public as well as Congress, Facebook released a newsroom post outlining its advertising principles.
- The post highlights the guidelines Facebook uses to make advertising-related decisions. These include that the user experience should be built for people first and even though ad revenue enables the platform to remain free, ads should be relevant and useful to users; Facebook won’t sell users’ data such as name, posts, email address or phone number as part of its stance on privacy; users can control the ads they see such as hiding ads they don’t like and blocking ads from advertisers they don’t like using the platform’s Ad Preferences tool; ads on the platform are transparent so that users can easily understand who is showing them as well as what other ads that advertiser is running; ads should be safe and civil as well as available to businesses of all sizes using the same tools. Facebook also said it is constantly improving its advertising by listening to feedback and adjusting to changes such as the shift to mobile.
- The post from Facebook's vice-president of ad products, Rob Goldman, was published about a month after Congressional hearings where Facebook legal counsel confirmed Russian agents posted almost 80,000 pieces of divisive content on the platform viewed by around 29 million users between January 2015 and August 2017, as pointed out by The Drum.
This latest news post reiterating guidelines the social media giant has previously shared, but likely not in one place, is a message that it is taking concerns seriously about ads on the platform, as well as the questions lawmakers, are beginning to ask about the reach and outsize influence of digital ad players like Facebook and Google. As such, it is the latest indication that Facebook has recognized that its own brand image may be taking a hit following a series of mishaps, including multiple metrics mistakes and various entities publishing content is violent, misleading or otherwise of low-quality. In fact, Facebook also issued a request for proposals earlier this month for ad agencies to deliver messaging around making Facebook an innovation company, particularly around virtual and augmented reality.
Facebook has always taken a stance that it values the user experience on its platform over advertising volume, going as far at one point to drop banner ads citing the format wasn’t as valuable to both advertisers and users compared to native ad formats and video ads.
Last month, Facebook made ads more transparent by allowing users to see any ads run by an organization by going to that group’s page and clicking a “View Ads” button to bring up all current campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, although the feature isn’t expected to roll out globally until next summer.