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Facebook Tries to Contextualize Ads in New Experiment

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Facebook ads as of late. People are starting to mistrust these ads due to a wide array of situations where scammer were able to take advantage of Facebook’s ad system to try and trick people.

A really pertinent example of this can be seen in the 2016 US Presidential Election due to the reason that Russian agencies used ads on Facebook to influence the electoral process which is something that Facebook really can’t have happening on a regular basis because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up undermining what little trust people currently have in the platform.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that Facebook has been trying to add more contextual information to their ads ever since this occurred, and recently the social media platform has made a big change. This change would make it so that users can get a great deal of info about the page or business that might have put a certain ad up, something that would help users to ascertain whether or not the ad is coming from a legitimate source.

This experiment, as per Matt Navarra, that Facebook is conducting involves adding an information panel underneath all ads. Users can scroll horizontally through this panel to acquire the information that they desire with regards to the origin of the ad in question, and all of this information can be used to better understand how users might have been targeted to receive that ad in the first place as well.

One thing that could impact the platform negatively is that smaller businesses might find that their ads are not as successful with all things having been considered and taken into account. After all, if users are able to see how many likes a business has underneath its ad, they might assume that businesses that have a lower than average number of likes and followers would somehow be involved in a scam campaign. Many users would know how to tell if a business is fake beyond follower counts but most would not know how to parse scammers from genuine businesses any other way.

Regardless of this, Facebook’s new information panel is definitely a step in the right direction. Users need a lot more info about these types of things so that they can use it to their advantage. Facebook desperately needs to restore trust in its ad platform because both users as well as advertisers are starting to lose faith in it. This can cause widespread problems for Facebook in terms of revenue down the line.


Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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