Facebook promises relevant, useful ads for 2 bn users

San Francisco:  Embroiled in controversies over advertisers using its platform for spreading fake news and propaganda, Facebook has tweaked its goals when it comes to advertising across platforms, including Messenger and Instagram.
“Our goal is to show ads that are as relevant and useful as the other content you see. We don’t sell personal information like your name, Facebook posts, email address, or phone number to anyone,” Rob Goldman, Facebook’s Vice President of Ad Products wrote in a blog post late on Monday.
“This means we can show you relevant and useful ads – and provide advertisers with meaningful data about the performance of their ads — without advertisers learning who you are,” Goldman added.
The post came in the wake of Kremlin-linked Russian organisations purchasing more than $100,000 of ads during the 2016 US presidential election.
Facebook told US Congress this month that 126 million of its users in the US might have seen ads produced and circulated by Russian operatives.
“You should be able to easily understand who is showing ads to you and see what other ads that advertiser is running. It’s why we’re building an ads transparency feature that will let you visit any Facebook Page and see the ads that advertiser is running, whether or not those ads are being shown to you,” Goldman informed.
This will not only make advertising on Facebook more transparent but also hold advertisers accountable for the quality of ads they create.
Facebook does not want advertising to be used for hate or discrimination.
“We review many ads proactively using automated and manual tools, and reactively when people hide, block or mark ads as offensive. When we review an ad, we look at its content, targeting, landing page and the identity of the advertiser.
“We may not always get it right, but our goal is to prevent and remove content that violates our policies without censoring public discourse,” Goldman wrote.
In a move to tackle Russian activity on its platform, Facebook has also announced to create a tool where users can see if they are engaged with Pages linked to Russian propaganda.
The tool will enable people on Facebook to learn which of its Pages or Instagram accounts backed by Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency they may have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017.
This tool will be available for use by the end of the year in the Facebook Help Centre.
“It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election.
“That’s why as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly and have provided it to congressional investigators. And it’s also why we’re building the tool,” Facebook said.(IANS)